Jacques Pépin

Master Chef

Photo: Jacques Pépin

Master chef, author, and educator Jacques Pépin is "the original Iron Chef.” He has published more than 25 cookbooks, hosted 12 highly acclaimed public television shows and taught millions of Americans – plus an entire generation of chefs — how to cook. His innovative approach to the kitchen begins with technique and ends with creation, believing that every meal should be a celebration.

A James Beard award-nominated television series produced by KQED Public Television in San Francisco accompanied his latest work, Essential Pépin. Anthony Bourdain remarked, "Jacques Pépin is The Master. The undisputed authority on…well, just about everything relating to food. If Jacques Pépin tells you this is the way to make an omelet — or to roast a chicken, then for me, the matter is settled.”

In 2012 Pépin published an updated version of his classic, comprehensive cookbook titled Jacques Pépin New Complete Techniques. The book is complete with thousands of photographs, 160 recipes, and over 600 techniques and methods. 

Pépin shared the spotlight with the iconic Julia Child on the award-winning Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. The series went on to win a Daytime Emmy and the James Beard Foundation’s award for Best National Cooking Show. The duo developed and taught a master’s degree program in gastronomy at Boston University where Pépin still teaches today.

Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, he worked in his parent’s restaurant, Chez Pépin, as a child before starting his formal apprenticeship at age 13. After a meteoric rise through the ranks, Pépin became the personal chef for three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Upon moving to the United States, Pépin turned down the position of White House chef to direct research and development at Howard Johnson’s, where he helped revolutionize food chemistry, mass production techniques and subsequently, American food tastes. Pépin built his career as a master craftsman who presents accessible recipes for any kitchen with ingredients found in the local grocery store. He maintains the perspective that everyone can cook with some basic training and preparation.

Pépin has taught at the French Culinary Institute since 1988, currently serving as Dean of Special Programs. The Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises, his many honors include France’s highest recognition, the Légion d'honneur.

His latest book, Heart and Soul in the Kitchen, was released in Fall 2015.

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