Dishing with Jacques Pépin

Dec 27th, 2012 | By | Category: show tips, the show
Jacques Pepin, Photo credit: Georgia Kral

Jacques Pepin, Photo credit: Georgia Kral

Jacques Pépin is an icon in the world of cooking.  A classically trained French, he’s penned myriad cookbooks, books on techniques and his autobiography. He’s been the host of a dozen cooking shows on PBS, with his more resent, called Essential Pépin.

He serves as Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute,  in New York City. He is also an active contributor to the Gastronomy Department at Boston University, which he co-created with his dear friend Julia Child.

Given his background it may come as no surprise to know Chef Pépin believes there is no excuse for anyone not to cook at home.

“There are so many resources available to people today in the twenty-first century as far as information and beautiful food, it just doesn’t make sense not to cook,” he told me when we met when he was in town for a culinary conference back in 2011.

Chef was in town to take part in the International Association of Culinary Professionals annual conference, which was held in Austin, Texas . He told me he’s been a member of the organization for 25 years.

“With the Internet, recipes and videos that help people learn to cook are everywhere,” he said. Adding that if you don’t have Internet, surely you have a friend who cooks.

“Call them up and tell them you want to learn. Bring a bottle of wine to share and you watch and ask questions; ask to help. And if the chicken gets a little burned–who cares? You have had some fun with your friend and good wine.”

Chef says growing some of your own vegetables and herbs goes hand-in-hand with home cooking. He said he has a vegetable and herb garden at his home in Connecticut.

“But I don’t like to do the garden,” he confessed. “I never liked to do the garden, because as a kid I had to do the garden, you know, pulling stuff out.” Chef says he grows a summer garden out of tradition. “There is nothing as good as food that has been picked only hours before you eat it.” Although, he admits he can buy tomatoes at the farm stand down the street for less than it cost him to grow his own. Ah, tradition.

And cooking good food at home is critical if you have children, he said. “If you buy and eat processed food from a box,  you don’t really know what’s in there. And so many parents let kids choose this stuff, which they are just choosing by the color of the box that they saw on television.”

Not only are we removed from our food and the cooking of it, but now we are merely choosing what to eat based on the color of a box. “This is really scary when you think of it,” he said.

So get closer to your food, get closer to your family and start cooking. You can begin with the video below featuring Chef Jacques Pépin in his series More Fast Food My Way.

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