My mission: meet Jacques Pépin

Jacques Pépin’s cooking shows are completely unlike what’s popular on today’s TV for foodies. Newer shows tend to be loud and obnoxious or heavy on aggressive competition. If not that they’re about someone eating very exotic food or putting away massive amounts of diner chow. To each his own, of course, but when I rot in front of the TV I want to learn something, and no one does that better than Jacques Pépin.

I grew up watching PBS cooking shows, and still do, never tiring of repeats after all these years. In fact, these days I value them more than ever. They’ve been like school for me and inspired my love of food. In my weekend mock culinary academy Jacques Pépin is Dean, Professor and of course, Head Chef.

Jacques typically demonstrates classic methods for most dishes and from there he’ll experiment. During his shows you can always count on zoom-ins to his chopping and cutting because his speed is amazing to watch. He also has incredible tips on using everything like freezing vegetable peelings, meat scraps and bones for stock. I remember one show where he sprinkled roasted ground cherry pits on top of a dessert. What I enjoy the most is his expertise and I appreciate watching something done so well.

Skills yo!

One evening last month I was thinking how rare it is to meet a personal hero. For most people, the opportunity never comes or just isn’t attempted. I thought, I should try and meet my hero Jacques Pépin! I told Terra my idea and suddenly we were discussing how to go about it.

I started by researching credits from Jacques’s past shows. I found a publicist’s name and emailed my heart-felt dream. I didn’t think I would hear anything back but that same night I got a reply. Success! I was sure it would contain details about Jacques being moved by my email and personally inviting me to his home to cook together for an afternoon. Sadly it didn’t but it was positive nonetheless. I found out I had not contacted the right person on this attempt but my email had been forwarded to Jacques’s publicist who I would hear from soon. Sure enough, ten minutes later, that’s who wrote me. I was told to check back in the fall for Jacques’s appearance schedule.

Really, I know I won’t be invited to his home to cook together. When sending the email I was actually concerned that I would come across like some nut. I only hope to have the privilege of meeting him this year, shake his hand and thank him for so much great instruction and inspiration.


11 Comments on “My mission: meet Jacques Pépin”

  1. morrow says:

    Hell Tom , just go for it . Hop in the car , drive to Madison , and start stalking the poor bugger .

  2. Catherine Buckie says:

    Fantastic post, Tom! I hope you plan to keep us all up to date. Also, have you managed that trick of deboning and then stuffing the chicken? Wowsers!

  3. Shawn Hirtle says:

    That really is an impressive tutorial.
    Is it weird that I’m craving a chance to make the chicken lollypops!? I know the video really isn’t about the lollypops, but that was an a-ha moment for me. Geeking out, here.

  4. […] bacon, then tie it up. I used the half-hitch method I learned in that never tiring Jacques Pépin video from a few posts […]

  5. Lynette Gascoigne says:

    So did you meet him?? My husband would LOVE to meet him! I’m trying to figure out how that could be made possible!

    • Tom C says:

      Hi Lynette. Sadly not yet. His schedule last Fall didn’t really allow for me to travel to where he was. Then he had hip surgery late last year so everything was cancelled. I’m still hopeful for this year! You can find his public appearances on WQED’s website. If your husband is lucky enough to meet, please ask him to say hi to Jacques from Tom in Canada! And thanks for reading SixTop! We have a new site now which is more up-to-date. We’d love to have you stop by for a read!

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