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About Jacques Pépin

Jacques Pépin on the set of Heart & Soul.
Jacques Pépin on the set of Heart & Soul. (Kevin Berne)

Renowned chef Jacques Pépin has hosted 13 popular cooking series on public television, written more than two dozen cookbooks, and is a gifted artist.

Pépin, who lives in Madison, CT, filmed his 14th PBS-TV cooking series, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul at KQED In San Francisco, CA last fall. The series is scheduled to air in the fall of 2015, in time for Pépin’s 80th birthday. A companion cookbook to the series, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishers, will be released in early October, 2015.

Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, near Lyon. His love for cooking developed when, as a child, he helped 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 first worked at Le Pavillon, a historic French restaurant in New York City. He later became 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, then a master’s in 18th-century French literature at Columbia University.

Pépin starred in a PBS series with culinary icon Julia Child called Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. The 22-episode series won an Emmy Award and a James Beard Foundation Award in 2001.

A former columnist for The New York Times, he is a contributing editor to Food & Wine Magazine. Pépin was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, the Legion of Honor medal, in 2004. He continues to teach at Boston University and is 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 subject matter to explore abstract expressionism.

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