Jacques Pépin

Chef, Author, Culinary Educator, Television Personality, and Artist

About This Expert

Jacques Pépin, a culinary legend, currently hosts the public television series Essential Pépin, showcasing recipes for fast, healthy meals. This marks his thirteenth series produced by KQED Public Television in San Francisco and broadcast nationwide. The companion cookbook, Essential Pépin, was published in October 2011. His memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, was published in 2003 and released in paperback in May 2004. Jacques is also a proud grandfather to his daughter Claudine’s child, Shorey.

Born in Bourg-en-Bresse near Lyon, Jacques’s culinary journey began in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pelican. By age thirteen, he started his formal apprenticeship at the Grand Hotel de L’Europe in his hometown. He then trained under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée in Paris. From 1956 to 1958, Jacques served as the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

In 1959, Jacques moved to the United States, where he initially worked at New York’s Le Pavillon. He later spent a decade as the director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, gaining expertise in mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food preferences. Concurrently, he earned an M.A. in 18th-century French literature from Columbia University in 1972. In 1997, Jacques was honored as one of the distinguished alumni representing the School of General Studies at Columbia on its 50th anniversary.

Jacques co-starred with Julia Child in the PBS series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, which won a James Beard Foundation Award for Best National Cooking Show in 2001, and a Daytime Emmy Award. He also co-hosted Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen series with his daughter, Claudine.

A former New York Times columnist, Jacques writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine and participates in its prestigious Classic in Aspen and other culinary festivals globally. He is a popular guest on TV shows such as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Today Show, and Good Morning America.

Jacques holds three of the French government’s highest honors: Chevalier de L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997), and Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1992). He serves as Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute in New York and is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University. Jacques co-founded The American Institute of Wine and Food, is a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and sits on the board of trustees of the James Beard Foundation. He resides with his wife Gloria in Madison, Connecticut.

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