Author: Jacques Pépin
The variety of Pépin's experience is striking. His early time in professional kitchens reflects the same pirate ship atmosphere one sees in other books but he eventually became the private chef for French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. He had an opportunity to cook in Kennedy's White House, too, but instead took a job in the Howard Johnson's test kitchen. While that seems like a crazy career move on the surface, it put him on the front lines of an emerging restaurant chain industry. The decision also fueled his insatiable drive to learn - about food, certainly, but also about American culture at-large.
Pépin is clearly a people person. Nearly every story involves an extensive entourage. Plus, everyone he knows is passionate about food. Household names abound in his social circles, including Julia Child, James Beard and even Danny Kaye.
The book is loads of fun. Pépin has accumulated wonderful stories over the years - many of them quite funny. It made me hungry, too, and fueled my enthusiasm for cooking. Once again, I am left fascinated by the idea of hunting for mushrooms - something I generally don't even like eating. The editing is a little funky sometimes. I occasionally had to sort out the year of a particular anecdote on my own. But the man's personal charm shines through.
Sounds like a fun read. I'm not adding it to my list at the moment (it's about to fall over), but I might circle back around to it.ReplyDelete
Such a bold and talented man! Taking a step into the culinary world at that time must have been a big one.ReplyDelete
The man is a genius and that's not a word I use lightly. He certainly worked hard to learn his trade but it is his talent and passion which carried him to such great heights. He never puts it in those terms but he's clearly been more than just lucky.Delete
I'd definitely read this one. He was a fascinating man and so passionate!!ReplyDelete
He still is! We haven't lost him yet.Delete
OK, one for the pile! I have several of his cookbooks, including one he wrote with Julia Child following a series they did together. His reminiscences were very enjoyable: he spoke one time of making the perfect omelet (oval but with pointed ends) and spoke of apprentices scrambling to fix the pointed ends before they were clouted with a wooden spoon wielded by the master chef... Very engaging. If my house collapses from the weight of books, Master Squid, you will bear some of the blame!ReplyDelete
I take great pride in such blame!Delete
He has some nice stories about Julia, including the very first time he encountered her work. They had a great friendship.
This is not my normal biography interest, but it does sound interesting.ReplyDelete
The culinary world is very different from where I've spent my life. I find it fascinating.Delete