It is a pleasure to interview Jacques Pépin from his home prior to the Chefs in the City 2011 event hosted by WOSU Public Media. As I suspected Jacques Pépin is gracious, witty and sharper than a Kasumi knife. I could talk with him for hours and soak up every word. Read below to see what this culinary icon has to say:
Q: With 12 television series and a lifelong relationship with PBS, how did you begin with public broadcasting?
A: It was the early 80’s in Jacksonville, Florida and everyday cooking reflected simple cuisine. I liked cooking this way and eventually taught classes on the West Coast and around the country. Martin Yan asked me to do a few shows with KQED. Then KQED asked me to do my own show which led to 12 series in 25 years.
Q: What keeps you coming back to KQED?
A: When I like something somewhere, I stay.
Q: Are there any other advantages of PBS?
A: I like the quality. To paraphrase Julia Child, “We are free to do what we want on PBS. Since we can’t endorse products, it is more honest and passionate.”
Q: How do you see the future of cooking in America?
A: I am an optimist. I’ve heard it said that no one cooks anymore. I beg to differ. In 50 years in America, I’ve never seen more people in the supermarket.
Q: Can you tell me about your book More Fast Food My Way that is for sale at the Chefs in the City 2011 event?
A: Fast Food My Way shows people how to make good food with a minimal amount of effort. I used to use a prep cook to prepare ingredients. In this series I show people how to use the supermarket as their prep cook to save time. You can buy boneless, skinless chicken or spinach already washed from the supermarket.
As the interview continues I introduce Jacques Pépin to our Chef Rec concept (recommendations based on where chefs love to eat) and ask about his favorite places. “My favorite place to cook in the world is at home” and the most important part of a meal is “the family, the sharing of food and the occasion” he says warmly. I concur.
He shares many recommendations that give me a wonderful taste of his life in Connecticut. To learn where Jacques Pépin dines when he is not in his home kitchen, click on his Chef Rec.
For an additional treat Jacques Pépin’s recipes from his cooking demonstration at the Chefs in the City 2011 event are available on our blog. To view them, visit our recipe tab or click on Scallops Grenobloise as well as Suprême of Chicken with Balsamic Vinegar and Shallot Sauce.
To you Jacques Pépin, thank you for sharing a bit of yourself with our readers and for participating in Chefs in the City 2011. Columbus is happy to have you back (Jacques Pépin taught here with Betty Rosbottom) and we are a better food town because of you.
To see additional images from Chefs in the City 2011, click on our facebook page.