Jacques Pépin, celebrated host of award-winning cooking shows on national public television, master chef, food columnist, cooking teacher, and author of nineteen cookbooks, was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. At age thirteen, he began his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L'Europe. He subsequently worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Mr. Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
Moving to the United States in 1959, Mr. Pépin worked first at New York's historic Le Pavilion restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that enabled him to learn about mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food tastes. He studied at Columbia University, ultimately earning an M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature in 1972. Deciding then to devote much of his time to writing, he authored two groundbreaking step-by-step books on French culinary technique, La Technique (1976) and La Methode (1979). These two classic volumes have been combined and updated in a new one-volume version published in 2001 by Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, NY. His works earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996, an honor bestowed each year on one author whose contributions to the literature of food have had a substantial and enduring impact on the American kitchen.
Mr. Pépin joined Julia Child on the popular series "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" which premiered in the fall of 1999 and continues to air regularly on many stations across the country. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. has published a companion cookbook, a video set of the entire series is also available at alacartetv.com.
He and his wife, Gloria, live in Madison, Connecticut.