Chef Bio: Jacques Pepin

Jacques Pepin

Critically acclaimed French chef Jacques Pepin grew up in the kitchen of his family’s restaurant near Lyon, France, where he was born in 1935, which naturally led to the young boy’s first apprenticeship at age 13 at the renowned Grand Hotel de L’Europe.

Pepin would move on to cook at Plaza-Athenee and Meurice in Paris and serve as the personal chef to such French elite as Charles de Gaulle, Felix Gaillard and Pierre Pfimlin before making the cross-Atlantic move to the New York in 1959. After working at Le Pavillon in New York City, he joined the Howard Johnson Company as the research and new development director where he spent a decade.

His success has earned Pepin the highest of accolades in his native France. He became a recipient of Chevalier de L’Ordre due Merite Agricole in 1992, Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1997 and the French Legion of Honor in 2002. He received the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame.

His book Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, which he co-authored with Julia Child, won the James Beard Award in 2000 and was named Best Cookbook in 1999 by IACP.

The celebrated French chef currently hosts his own television show More Fast Food My Way, which follows on the heels of his popular series Fast Food My Way. He starred with fellow iconic chef, Julia Child, on Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home in 2000 and has hosted Today’s Gourmet, Cooking Techniques, and Kitchen.

Pepin has also appeared on American Masters and Top Chef and guest starred on Ugly Betty.

The acclaimed chef is also the author of several memoirs: Chez Jacques: Traditions and Rituals of a Cook and The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. The success of the latter resulted in a television special titled The Apprentice: Then and Now.

Pepin is currently a columnist for Food & Wine Magazine and formerly served as a columnist for The New York Times.

Having founded The American Institute of Food and Wine, Pepin has served as The French Culinary Institute’s Dean of Special Programs, a position he’s held since 1988 and is an adjunct professor at Boston University.  He attended Columbia University, earning a Master of Arts degree in 18th Century French Literature.

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