Renowned chef Jacques Pépin has hosted 14 popular cooking series on public television, written more than two dozen cookbooks, and is a gifted artist.
The culinary icon turned 80 in 2015, prompting a year-long outpouring of affection for the French-born chef. Beloved and respected by his peers, Pépin has been recognized by virtually every major culinary organization in the United States. In October, he received the inaugural Julia Child Foundation Award – a meaningful honor for Pépin, whose decades-long friendship with Child lasted until her death in 2004. Their Emmy- and James Beard Foundation Award-winning collaboration, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (1999), opened a window on their charming chemistry and shared love of French cooking. In November, Pépin received American Public Television's Lifetime Achievement Award for his many contributions to public television.
Pépin’s history on public television spans nearly two decades — from his debut in Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking With Claudine (1996) to the recently released Heart & Soul (2015). His series remain a staple on public television stations and a mainstay on Create TV, public television’s premier lifestyle channel.
Pépin’s other public TV titles, include: Essential Pépin (2011); Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way (2008); Artist's Table: Jacques Pépin and Itzhak Perlman (2008); The Complete Pépin (2007), Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way (2004); Jacques Pépin : The Apprentice - Then & Now (2003); Jacques Pépin Celebrates! I & II (2001); Chez Pépin (2000); Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (1999); and Jacques Pépin's Kitchen II: Encore With Claudine (1998). He’s also made guest appearances on Simply Ming, Moveable Feast With Fine Cooking and other public television shows.
A prolific author, Pépin has penned 25 cookbooks, including the recently released companion cookbook to Heart & Soul and the hugely influential La Technique (1976). His literary efforts earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996 and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, Pépin’s love for cooking developed as a child while helping in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pélican. At 13, he began an apprenticeship at the Grand Hôtel de L’Europe and subsequently worked in Paris, ultimately serving as personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
After moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin worked at Le Pavillon, a historic French restaurant in New York City. He later served as the director of research and new development for Howard Johnson’s and was charged with developing a line of food for the restaurant chain. At the same time, he earned his bachelor’s degree and later a master’s in 18th-century French literature at Columbia University.
A personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle, Pépin received France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion of Honor, in 2004. A former columnist for The New York Times, he serves as contributing editor to Food & Wine Magazine. He continues to teach at Boston University and serves as the dean of special programs at the International Culinary Center in New York City. A gifted painter, Pépin has expanded his focus on landscape and floral subjects to explore abstract expressionism.