The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen Paperback – May 7 2004
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
The sparkling personality, sense of humor, and charm familiar to Jacques Pépin's television audiences carries over to the page in the superstar chef's humbly titled memoir, The Apprentice.
A clever, mischievous, and very likable boy, Pépin's earliest food memories are hungry ones from his childhood in war-torn France. After World War II, his first restaurant job was peeling potatoes for his mother at her restaurant, and he became an apprentice in a hotel kitchen at age 13. In this delightful tale he works hard, plays fair, is kind to others and good to his family, and his efforts take him to Paris, and then New York. Except for the terrible car accident that required him to reinvent himself as a teacher and television personality, he seems to have always been in the right place at the right time. He cooked for Prime Minister Gaillard and then General Charles de Gaulle, met Pierre Franey, Craig Claiborne, and Julia Child, and turned down a job cooking for JFK to accept one with Howard Johnson. But just as entertaining and enjoyable to read about are his tender memories and thoughts about his relationships with his parents and brothers, and with his wife and daughter.
We all wish we could cook like Pepin (and every chapter ends with one of Pépin's favorite recipes), but this enchanting tale will make you wish you knew him. The clear, simple way he expresses himself and the honesty with which he tells his story will bring you to tears, and make you laugh out loud. --Leora Y. Bloom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this fast-moving and often touching memoir, Pepin recounts his journey from the kitchen of his mother's humble restaurant in rural France after World War II to his current position as author of 21 cookbooks, star of 13 PBS cooking shows and dean of special programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Along the way he describes everything from the tough French apprenticeship system that saw him dropping out of school at 13 to work in Lyon to the beginnings of the Howard Johnson's chain. Pepin accepted a job in the Howard Johnson's test kitchen over a stint at the White House cooking for John F. Kennedy , but shows no signs of regret. In fact, if there's a flaw here, it's that Pepin's eternally upbeat attitude is sometimes a little hard to buy-although he does seem to have been born under a lucky star. Pepin came to the U.S. just when a culinary culture was building and fell into friendships with Craig Claiborne, then food editor of the New York Times, and Julia Child. Even a bad car accident when he was 39 turned out to be a godsend, as it got him out of the restaurant kitchen and into the teaching profession. Pepin mines a lot of humor from the differences between French and American attitudes toward food, as when he recounts how he and a French friend once stopped by a farmsomewhere in the U.S. with a sign reading "Ducks for Sale" and wrung the neck of the duck they'd just bought in front of the horrified proprietress. Each chapter concludes with one or two recipes, many of them surprisingly earthy, such as Oatmeal Breakfast Soup with leeks and bacon.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
"The Apprentice" tells the story of how he acquired this deep knowledge, and does it with style and charm. The story opens in war-time France, where Jacques and his brothers were sent to farms in the remote countryside during the summers for their safety... and in the hopes of avoiding food shortages prevalent in urban areas. From his earliest days, Jacques shadowed the women in his life as they cooked for their families, from the farmers' wives to his mother, an accomplished cook in her own right.
After the war, his mother parlayed her cooking skills and entrepreneurial spirit into a succession of increasingly successful restaurants, with Jacques and his three brothers helping out before and after school. From an early age, Jacques knew he wanted to be a chef. He left school at 13 and began an apprenticeship at a nearby hotel. For the next few years he moved from job to job, city to city, working 16 hours a day to lay down the foundation of skills -- stocks! aspics! forcemeats! -- that are the hallmark of the classically trained french chef.
His career as a chef hit a peak a few years later, when in his early 20's he found himself cooking for french Presidents, including a memorable stint for De Gaulle. He then came to America, and embarked on what must have been a very unorthodox career.Read more ›
Without giving away too much of the book's story, I must point out that Jacques was, by some great good fortune, the chef to France's President Charles DeGaulle at a very young age. In fact, he appeared on the TV show 'To Tell The Truth' and the panelists did not pick him as DeGaulle's chef because he was so very young. Upon coming to the United States, he quickly attained a position as a line chef under Pierre Franey at the great Le Pavillion, following Franey to a position in the test and development kitchens at Howard Johnson's. For those of you post baby boomers, I can assure you from first hand experience that at one time, Howard Johnson's was often considered a very desirable place to eat out.
Jacques would probably now be the owner / executive chef at a major restaurant but for a very serious automobile accident which broke most major bones and which left Jacques with only a slim chance to even be able to walk. Miraculously, he mended well to the point where he returned to an almost normal life, but without the ability to sustain the 12 to 14 hours on his feet at a typical chef's station. This lead to his career as a teacher, followed by cookbook writing and TV cooking series a la Julia on PBS.Read more ›
These stories hint at the most striking revelation of P?pin's autobiography, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen: the man is obsessed with food. This ought not come as a surprise, I suppose. P?pin is, after all, a renowned professional chef. But not every professional is so taken with the subject of his expertise. Love of food and its preparation--foraging or fishing for it, prying it from the walls of a vacation resort, simmering it on his own stovetop or stirring up consomm?s in thousand-gallon vats--pervades P?pin's life.
In straightforward, readable prose, The Apprentice tells the story of P?pin's life in food, from his childhood in war-rationed France--where his father, a member of the Resistance, smuggled the occasional banana to his wife and sons; to his apprenticeship in the kitchens of his mother's restaurants and under a series of respected French chefs; to his increasingly successful career in America. Throughout, one marvels at the author's apparently flawless memory for cooking. Remarkably, P?pin describes in detail dishes he made decades earlier, their ingredients and preparation, how the meal was received. These sections of the book do not make for the most scintillating reading for those of us who are not food aficionados, but they are impressive even so. For those who *are* inclined to take to the stove, P?pin includes more than twenty recipes in the book.
Most recent customer reviews
Cute, informative, quick read, excellent stories, very insightful. Have read it twice. I am sure many European people who lived through the war years can call this story their own... Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2013 by Stanley Heal
The skills that make an awesome chef are the same skills that make an awesome writer, patience, a loving devotion to detail, an appreciation of the sensual - this has it all. Read morePublished on May 6 2004 by Shawna Lanne
I enjoyed every minute of this delectable memoir. Amusing and thoughtful; Pepin shares an intimate look from WWII France and as an ex-pat in America. I hated to see the book end.Published on April 23 2004
Julia Child (who should know!) has called him the best cook in America today. That's high praise.
Jacques Pepin's life in kitchens, beginning with his mother's cafes and... Read more
I thought I would like this book, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I came away liking the author. M. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2003
Withy a great history of formal French training, Pepin has earned the right to toss out a cheesey 'my life in the kitchen'. His story though is much more exciting than that. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2003 by Jason Gruss
It was an enjoyable lite read. The recipes after each chapter were interesting.
But, it is written on a sixth-grade level, so it's not something I'll reread. Read more
I enjoyed this read tremendously, and if you're into food, so will you.
Pepin writes very unassumedly, and is most humble about his very productive career, from personal chef... Read more