KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Jacques Pepin Gets Personal
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
A Conversation with Dorothy Cann Hamilton
CUESA and Petrini Start Peace Talks
Wine. Dine. Donate. with Mark Franz
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Plated Desserts, A Menu.
Paczki: Polish Jelly Donuts
Pie oh My!
First Impression: Piqueo's
Fever-Tree Revisited: Ginger Ale
Strawberries & Crepes
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Jacques Pepin Gets Personal


Bonjour mes amis -- my apologies for the delay in posting this today. I've had an enfer (hell) of a time getting Blogger to upload my pics but I think all is well in cyberspace. Nothing a mid-afternoon glass of wine can't resolve :) A little culinary bird told me that Jacques Pepin was going to be in town. One of his stops was an informal sit down with the SFPFS (San Francisco Professional Food Society) moderated by Laura Werlin, artisanal cheese aficionada, at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill.


View of downtown San Francisco and the Bay from the top of the Fairmont

Mother Nature must be a Jacques Pepin fan because we were treated to some of the most gorgeous views imaginable set against a screaming blue sky. Jacques was in town promoting his latest book, Chez Jacques, which means "at Jacques' home". He did a meet and greet for a good hour then had a sit down interview followed by a reception where the Fairmont culinary team treated us to some of Jacques' recipes from this book. Here are a few of his words of wisdom, snippets, quotes and delightful humor.


Jacques Pepin and Laura Werlin getting ready to start the interview

• In this book, Jacques focused on recipes from his home, hence the title, recipes that he cooks for himself and his wife or a big group of friends. He states, the point of eating is sharing food with family and friends, with sharing comes conversation, talking around a table. He quotes anthropologist Levi Strauss who claims that cooking food is nature transformed into culture.

• Jacques claims he is egocentric, egocentric to the food he loves. He goes on to explain that this is natural because you can't escape yourself because you are unique. If you like a restaurant, it is more a reflection of your tastes, aesthetics, preferences, palette, experiences than on the restaurant itself.

• Laura posed the question: "How far should we go to buy our food?" Jacques replied, the best food is always going to be the closest food, similar to the best table in a restaurant being the one closest to a waiter.

• Another question asked about food trends in restaurants such as molecular gastronomy. His response was that chefs are thinking too much, turning it into fashion vs. trend. For example, Il Bulli is breaking new ground but locally no one would know what the dish is. If he took a dish out into the street of the town, no one would be able to identify it. He compares it to a haute couture Parisian fashion show. When you see thee crazy fashions, you think no one would ever wear it but eventually the techniques, such as the foam phenomenon, will trickle down and morph into mainstream dining.


Jacques' art work is featured through the book

• When asked about the Food Network and how chefs are now superstars, Jacques humbly refutes that chefs shouldn't take themselves so seriously, that we are all just soup merchants. Most chefs are basically craftsmen and technicians and some have extraordinary talent such as Thomas Keller. Jacques is also concerned with the lack of actual information on the Food Network - 24 hours a day of food shows but not one minute on actual factual information tackling today's culinary issues such as childhood obesity, diabetes, etc. There is no nutritionist, no investigating, we don't know anything about anything and the Food Network needs a show such as 60 Minutes that investigates and reports on food issues that are so prevalent in this country.

• An audience member asked Jacques the qualities of a good chef. He immediately fired off the following: hardworking, prompt, always there, attentive, fast, a good technician, and can work and get along with other people. These, he states emphatically, are more important than anything, even creativity. Once a chef is a master technician and if he has talent, then he can become an artist. Only then can he take everything he's learned, all his knowledge and experience and his own sense of aesthetics and start creating.

• Jacques tests all his own recipes along with his very discerning wife and assistant Norma. If they don't like it, the recipe doesn't go in the book! His collaborator on most of his books and shows, Susie Heller, also tests all his recipes in her home kitchen to ensure consistency.

• Jacques's next project is called The Artist's Table where he interviews accomplished artists, musicians, etc. to discover how their specific art translates to food and wine. He recently sat down with Itzhak Perlman who discussed the importance of food, using food synonyms to discuss how his music will sound and his love of cooking. When talking about the marriage of art and science, Jacques claims that you can't reduce a recipe to a scientific formula because every recipe incorporates that one chef's techniques, imagination, instinct and talent. If he gives the same recipe to 10 different people, he will get 10 different versions of the same dish because each person will naturally incorporate these traits.


Chocolate tartlet with candied grapefruit peel

• When asked about his favorite memory of Julia Child, Jacques smiled and laughed. The first show they did together had no recipes so it took them 2 years to write the follow-up book because the editors would have to replay the shows over and over to get exactly what they were putting into the dish. Another memory involves a visit to the set by a local sponsor, Kendall-Jackson. The producer Goeff Drummond, before the taping, confirmed with Jacques that they'd pour a glass of wine at the end of the segment. When the time came, Jacques poured himself a glass of wine and offered one to Julia. She graciously declined, declaring that she preferred a beer! The same thing happened when the Land O'Lakes sponsors were on the set. Jacques and Julia were making a pie crust and Jacques took out the butter. Julia announced she was going to make her pie crust with Crisco!

• A poignant ending to the evening came when Jacques talked about how blessed his life is, how he is able to do what he loves for a living and if he could come back in a second life, he would come back as Jacques Pepin. The audience burst into applause in heartfelt agreement.

Labels:

 
 

1 Comments:

Blogger Amy Sherman said...

Great recap of a wonderful evening. Sorry I didn't get a chance to say "hi".

5/27/2007 9:28 AM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.