Jacques Pepin Talks ‘Essential Pepin’

This week I had the opportunity to meet with Jacques Pepin to discuss his new cookbook, “Essential Pepin.”  Not only is Chef Pepin an incredible chef, but he is a wonderful person to interview.  He talks with me below about his cookbook, his memories of Julia Child, and the importance of sitting down to dinner with family.

LT:  How did you come up with your cookbook?  What was your inspiration?

JP:  Ah, the inspiration…that goes back many, many, many, many years.  I’ve had many cookbooks, this is number 25, and many of those were out of print.  We decided to bring back a great deal of that material and rework it.  I thought it was going to be a cinch!    It was more work than I could believe.  I had to rework the recipes because things have changed.  I don’t cook the same way I cooked 40 or 50 years ago.  You know the way you cook as a young man, as a middle aged man, and as an older man is different.  So, anyway, we had a good time doing it.  In the book I have a 3 hour DVD of techniques which I think is very good.

LT:  How were you able to narrow down your recipes in the book?  You have so many wonderful recipes!

JP:  I know.  We started with over 2,000 and we finished with about 700.  I looked at it, and I had maybe 15 recipes for salmon, and a few were pretty close, so that’s how I eliminated them.

LT:  So this week we’re celebrating the 50 th anniversary of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” on “Good Morning America,” do you have any favorite memories of your time cooking with Julia?

JP:  Gosh!  I met Julia in 1960 so it was so many, so many years.  So I have many memories.  We had a great time.  We had a great time working with Julia.  She was terrific.

LT:  I want to ask you- what do you cook at home?

JP:  Whatever my wife tells me to make.  I’ve been married 45 years.  That’s a long time.  When I go to the market whatever looks good I buy.  After 45 years of marriage, when I have an argument with my wife, if we don’t agree, we do what she wants.  But, when we agree, we do what I want!

LT:  That’s always good.

JP:  So we have no more problems.  This is what life is all about.  We’ve had a great time.  There is not one night, after 45 years, that I don’t remember us sitting down, in our kitchen, or in our dining room having dinner together.  Sometimes, sharing a bottle of wine, sometimes 2, and yes, we’ve done that for many, many years.

LT: Thanks so much for sharing with us.  That sounds like some great advice.

Try some of these recipes from  Jacques Pepin’s new book, “Essential Pepin.”

Memes Apple Tart

Haricot Verts and Shallots

Potatoes Gratin

Chicken in Vinegar

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