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The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen Paperback – May 7 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (May 7 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618444114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618444113
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.1 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #182,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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By Stanley Heal on Jan. 3 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 but few can do it with such a good blend of laughter, wit, and character.
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Format: Paperback
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. It's a great slice of history and does what a great memoir is supposed to do - it allows you to enter the world of another.
Jacques Pepin's book, "The Apprentice : My Life in the Kitchen", is a light and compelling, can't put it down read.
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By A Customer on April 23 2004
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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 continuing on the Food Channel, is a fast-moving and sometimes surprising journey. As a child he worked on a farm (sent there by his parents to avoid the bombs of WWII) but it's his experiences in his mother's cafes that confirms his culinary talent and hitches his wagon to international stardom in cuisine.
Entertaining and international, this is a book that should bring more admirers to Pepin's already crowded table.
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Format: Hardcover
Not being a devotee of the Food Channel, I discovered Jacques Pepin by accident. Channel surfing one day, I stumbled upon Jacques' transforming a big slab of meat into a beautiful roast, trimmed and tied. The sureness with which he handled his knives, his knowledge of the animal's anatomy, and the warm confidence with which he shared his knowledge -- "of course you can do this at home!" -- hooked me immediately.
"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.
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By A Customer on Nov. 14 2003
Format: Hardcover
I thought I would like this book, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I came away liking the author. M. Pepin writes with an honesty and humor that makes this such an enjoyable read. As a previous reviewer mentioned, M. Pepin does not come off as a name-dropper, but reveals the tight-knit sense of community of the culinary world. The book educates the reader on the changing scene of the culinary world, both gastronomically and academically. While I found it to be very educational, I thoroughly enjoyed it - very entertaining.
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Format: Hardcover
I have always had the greatest respect for Jacques Pepin based on the high reputation of his culinary books, collaborations with Julia Child, and great good humor and skills displayed on various television appearances, but I have always wondered how he reached a position of high respect within his profession without a connection to a major restaurant for at least as long as I have known of him (the last 15 years). This book answers my question and a whole lot more, confirming my impression of Jacques as a major figure in culinary America and a great gentleman as well.
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.
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