Meeting Jacques Pépin (podcast + giveaway)

May 19th, 2016 | By | Category: Featured Articles, podcast, the show
Jacques Pepin is coming to Austin

Jacques Pepin is coming to Austin



When I found out the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)  annual conference was coming to my hometown of Austin, Texas in June of that year, I felt we’d truly secured our role as a player on the world culinary stage.

I knew the conference would draw industry luminaries, but I had not expected Chef Jacques Pépin would be in attendance. I have admired Chef Pépin for many years, and have watched all his PBS cooking shows over the years (and have purchased his books and autobiography); so, from the moment I learned he was going to be in town, I was determined to meet and talk with him.

As it turned out, all I had to do was ask my friend, colleague, and former IACP President, and conference PR maven, Cathy Cochran-Lewis, who I needed to talk with to secure an interview with the legendary chef, and she said, “You’re talking to her.”

We agreed to meet at 3 p.m. on the. Friday afternoon of the conference for the interview, but when I arrived Cathy asked if we could push it back to 3:30 p.m. as Chef Pépin’s books signing was running long.

Cathy and I walked the Trade Show floor in a huge ballroom of the Downtown Austin Hilton Hotel. After about 15 minutes she excused herself to check on chef while I continued to roam about and talk with other interesting folks.

I’m not sure how much time passed before I spied Cathy looking around the ballroom a bit frantically. I caught her attention, and she rushed up to me saying chef had forgotten about the appointment, and she’d found him in the hotel bar having a drink waiting for a cab to take him back to his hotel.

She told me she caught him just in time and that he’s was fatigued and wanted to go back to his hotel for a nap before the evening’s festivities.


So Cathy and I hightailed it two floors down to where the legend sat at a round table in the rear of a large empty meeting room. The sunlight streaming into the space from the massive window behind him made Chef appear absolutely radiant as he thumbed through an issue of Edible Austin magazine.

He stood when I entered and took my hand in greeting. He looked exactly like himself (albeit a little tired), and could not have been more gracious, generous or lovely. I’m just glad I was recording our conversation because all I really remember hearing was the giddy, giggly voice in my head that kept repeating, I’m talking to Jacques Pépin! I’m sitting right next to Jacques Pépin! Wow!

Honestly — the giddiness has yet to wear off.

Listen to the podcast for my conversation with Chef, in which we discuss his early years, how he turned down an opportunity to cook for President John F. Kennedy, and his feelings about today’s young chefs.


The Long Center Presents, in partnership with the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, presents an evening with world-renowned Chef Jacques Pépin, June 5th at 3:00 p.m. in Dell Hall. Ticket sales support high school students attending the Culinary Arts Career Conference in 2017. However, we have a pair of tickets to give away.

Enter for your chance to win a pair of ticket to the event:

  1. In the comments below, tell us what you have learned from Chef Pépin over the years, and why you wish to attend his talk.
  2. Accepting entries until Friday, May 27, 2016, 11:59 p.m. CT.
  3. Open to residents of the five county Austin Metro Area (Williamson, Caldwell, Hays, Bastrop and Travis)
  4. Must be 18 years old or older to enter and win.
  5. Only one entry per person/family and ip address.
  6. Must not have won anything from Field & Feast in the past three months.
  7. Must provide a valid email address as that is how producer will contact you with instructions for obtaining your tickets if you win.
  8. Winners will be chosen at random using
  9. Winner must respond to producer’s email no later than 5:00 p.m. CT June 1, 2016 or forfeit their tickets.
  10. No substitutions.

NOTE: This site is moderated, therefore, your comment will not show up immediately. It may take up to several hours.

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  1. I too met chef Pepin thanks to Cathy. He was incredibly gracious and posed with me for a photo. We talked about his house in Mexico and how much he loves staying there and eating the food. I want to be invited 🙂

  2. Hi Claudia. Isn’t Cathy the best? I also found Chef Pepin to be gracious and generous with his time. I see that he rents out his place in Mexico when he and his family aren’t using it. So, if an invitation isn’t forthcoming, you can always rent it. 🙂 CN

  3. My husband and I started our marriage decades ago watching Jacques Pepin cook on PBS. We knew we loved him then but we didn’t have any idea what a legend we were watching. When he collaborated with Julia Child, we knew we were going to get much more than some recipes, and when he and his daughter cooked, we got insight into their warm, well-fed home. It feels like we’ve known and admired him forever, and it would be an honor to see and hear him speak in person. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win tickets!

  4. From his marvelous television series, Heart & Soul, I’ve learned that the art of cooking is getting your ego out of the way and letting the simple ingredients speak for themselves. I want to attend on June 5th to learn more of this elegant cooking philosophy.

  5. KHOU, in Houston, was the FIRST public television station, established in 1959 if I recall correctly –
    long before it became a part of the PBS broadcasting network. I watched Julia Child from day-one
    (!960’s) and when Jacques Pepin became a gracious guest and “apprentice” that was a treasure –
    the “Piece De Resistance” for that show. I simply become mesmerized watching him work.
    Jim Davis

  6. My wife is a gr8 cook , we are new to ATX & are not familiar with chef Pepin , this would be a gr8 birthday gift for her thank you

  7. What I learned from Jacques Pepin is that I can cook. His recipes are “user friendly”; you can do them at home. They do not take hours of time, but the results after a few minutes can be delicious. In addition , his tips are practical and useful. They can save money or make preparation easier. He is my favorite chef on TV.

  8. I have not yet met Jacques Pepin but have been an avid fan for years. His incredible talent, patient teaching, and sense of humor make watching his shows and reading his books entertaining, educational, and confidence building! I just love him!

  9. I have been watching Jacques Pepin for many years. I watched him with Julia Child, his daughter Claudine and now with his granddaughter Shorey.
    I have learned so much in his shows from shortcuts, techniques and also history of food. I love when he tells stories of his childhood and his mother cooking.
    I would love to see him because I like him so much, and even at my old age, I always learn something new from him.

  10. The openness offered by different foods. So many items can be blended or spiced or taken as is, with delicious and delightful results. And, that this can be done in your own kitchen. I watch all of the time and have not yet gained any weight from doing so.

  11. My niece is smitten with Chef Jacques.
    I think she would very pleased to attend.
    Something we can share.

  12. Let me count the ways I love Jacques. His demeanor is so gentle and gracious. The respect and love he affords his family is admirable. His cooking philosophy is very empowering. He encourages the cooks preferences. Nothing is overly complicated. His love and enjoyment of cooking is apparent and he transfers it to his audience. Can you tell I thoroughly enjoy him and hope to see him in June.
    Thank you very much.

  13. I learned to cook from PBS chefs and still prefer them to the Food Network. One of my favorite shows was Julia and Jacques. They were both comrades and competitors (like most chefs) It was interesting seeing both of their approaches and taught me that there was more than one way to interpret a recipes. I would love to see chef Pepin in person. Thanks for the opportunity!

  14. I have been watching him a very long time. I have never met him but he made me rethink some of my southern roots and I have incorporated some of his methods in my cooking. What a wonderful experience it would be to meet him.

  15. I remember watching Jacques Pepin with my family on Sundays growing up, years later i decided to look up Jaques Pepin recipe, I found the Chicken Galentine recipe, not only is it a great recipe, i also learned how to debone a chicken. i love it how Pepin describes deboning a chicken comparing it to slipping out of pajamas.

  16. Writing on behalf of Chef Beasley. He was Chef Pepin and Julia Child’s stage manager for a production at Boston College. He thinks Chef Pepin is the consummate omelette maker and the best at making veal shoulder. We would both like to attend his talk to revisit old standbys and new techniques he can share.

  17. It feels like I watch Jacques every night on PBS. We enjoy his easy-going, continental manner and yet he cultivates an elegant charm that makes him seem approachable. I’m not sure of his guests who I enjoy the best – his granddaughter, his Sommelier daughter, his old friend or Julia. With each show, I’m usually elbowing my boyfriend to pay attention and be prepared to cook the featured dish!

  18. The chef’s books on methods and techniques are so clearly written, illustrated and approachable that they belong on every cook’s shelf. On his videos as well he explains things so concisely and fills you with confidence. The chef also made a great short comment on how recipes can change radically due to variations in produce and other variables on a PBS NewsHour segment:
    I’d love to listen to his talk; he’s a master of communication as well as cooking.

  19. I’ve leaned that a Master makes everything looks easy and graceful. I have also learned a variety of tips about choosing ingredients, preparing and presenting them.

  20. Chef Pepin reinforces that food and love go hand in hand, that we will forever remember and want the food of our childhood. I would love to hear him talk. I would love to experience it with my dearest friend. It would be a womderful shared memory.

  21. Until I came across his books, I never understood the importance of technique and how far it could take you when learning to cook. Reading them, I gained greater speed and confidence when cooking from recipes, and the freedom to cook without them.

  22. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching many of Jacque’s TV shows. Especially those with Julia Child. Years ago, Dorothy Cann Hamilton interviewed him at the French Culinary Institute about his start in the US and I found it amazing that he worked for Howard Johnson’s. My family often stayed at the HJ chains along the East Coast during the summer when I was a kid in the 60’s. Who knows, we may have crossed paths before.