A Conversation with Jacques Pépin - My Menus & Apron Giveaway

Legend is a powerful word that carries substantial weight and responsibility. Leading a well-lived life, educating others, contributing to the beauty of the world all adds to the definition of legendary in my estimation. A legend is a role model and a source of inspiration - not all who are famous are deserving of this title.

Jacques Pépin is a legend. His career has spanned over 60 years, he has written almost thirty cookbooks, taught us how to cook on television for decades, he is devoted to his family, his painting is world renowned and rumor has it that he is quite the crooner. He is more than a triple-threat - he is the whole package.

In my cookbook collection, I have many of his titles. One of my favorites is Heart & Soul in the Kitchen which I reviewed last year. This month and next, Jacques has two more books being released: A Grandfather's Lessons (look for a promotion soon on that title) and My Menus which will be available exclusively at Sur La Table in October. 

My Menus: Remembering Meals with Family and Friends is a stunning collection of the chef's menus that have been preserved over the decades - from his granddaughter's First Communion to other special occasions.  In speaking with Jacques, I gathered every meal with family and friends is a special occasion and I vowed to keep that in my mind and heart going forward. These menus have become a history of his life through meals, conversations and time spent with those that matter the most.

On Monday, I had the honor of speaking to Jacques and that will go down as one of the epic moments of my life. Confession time, I was nervous when I dialed his number almost hoping that the call would go to voice mail. But no, that silky French voice on the other end was the legend himself. I feel the need to share what has been going on in my life. My just turned 13 year old son has Aspergers (since birth) and officially bipolar for the last four years. He was admitted to the hospital on August 11 and was an inpatient for twelve days. He is now a patient in the partial hospitalization program since discharge. His team is working on his medications along with therapy and hopefully he will be discharged on the 5th. So, not only was I dealing with exhaustion and stress, I was also nervous calling a world famous chef that I respect and admire and wasn't able to hide behind my keyboard.

Originally, I had the call planned earlier but had to reschedule due to a meeting at the hospital - Jacques was very understanding. Thirty seconds into our conversation, he had me at ease. It was less an interview and more a conversation - sharing his love of family, food and art and my sharing my thoughts on same. I was so engrossed in actually talking to him - I took very little notes and found myself calm and relaxed by the end of our time together.

During our conversation, I asked if his food inspired his art or was it the other way around. He tends to keep his food straight-forward without embellishments - his art is where he is more expressive and abstract. He loves food in its natural form - cooked well without fancy plating. Often times, food can inspire his painting and he finds much of his art has some ties to the kitchen. Recently he was sitting at the dinner table, looking at the food on the table and noticed the sun reflecting off the glasses and relished the beauty in that simple moment. He can also paint an image with his words and I felt as if I was seated at that table gazing on that same image. 

Jacques has a wonderful sense of humor - when asked which gave him more joy cooking or painting. "Cooking, if I am hungry."  I knew it was an impossible question to answer but I did ask what his favorite piece of art was - and he stated that he probably would have to choose the essential rooster that he created and has been a trademark in his Sur la Table line

We talked a bit about family and how proud he is to have worked with Claudine, his daughter, and Shorey, his granddaughter. I mentioned how impressive to have worked with his family to bring their love of food into the work aspect of his life - but when food is family and time together - it must not seem like work at all. Jacques shared stories of foraging for wild mushrooms or fishing off the coast of Connecticut, where he lives, - catching tiny fish - dredging them with flour and frying them up. The man treasures his family and feels that time spent together is the glue that holds a family together.

I asked if he had something sentimental in his kitchen that he holds dear - he mentioned a garlic press from Julia Child and a piece of copper from James Beard and it hit me again that I was talking with a legend. 

We spoke a little of A Grandfather's Lessons and the joy he experienced creating this book with Shorey. The recipes or lessons contained in this book range from fast but elegant, easy to sophisticated - for instance a fish dish that takes just a few minutes but is elegant and presents beautifully to something playful as a curly dog - a hot dog with slits that fries up in a pan. I wondered if there were any plans for a television tie in for this book. Jacques stated that they had just finished filming 36 lessons - each 10 to 12 minutes long - that can be found on Sur la Table starting September 13th (the links are set forth below each recipe in the book). We will have more on this title and a promotion close to the publication date of September 13th.

Jacques, Shorey and Claudine will be touring for A Grandfather's Lessons and you can find their scheduled events on our calendar. Besides a copy of the My Menus book that will be available in October at Sur La Table we also have the gorgeous watercolor apron pictured to the left from the chef's collection as part of our promotion here today for two lucky members. Be sure to scroll down to enter.

I wish to share some advice Jacques provided me with regard to my son. "Get him in the kitchen. Even if he doesn't want to participate - have him sitting at the table or standing nearby. The sights, sounds and aromas will be something that he will always remember." Andrew, my son, is quite often in the vicinity of the kitchen when I am cooking, I try to coax him into helping but right now he is a bit scattered as am I. Each night, I recall this advice and make an extra effort to comment on what I am doing and hope that this will encourage Andrew to eventually participate in the process of cooking. 

Lastly, a few years back I reached out to Claudine and told her it would mean so much to me to have her and her father's autographs for my copy of Cooking with Claudine. Within a week, I received a lovely note, their combined autographs and a singular autograph from Jacques with his trademark little drawing - I told Jacques that this gesture meant the world to me - and reinforces my opinion that legends can be down-to-earth and kind.

Sur La Table is offering two winners a copy of My Menus and a Jacques Pépin Watercolor Apron in our contest open to Eat Your Books members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which piece in Jacques Pépin's collection at Sur La Table is your favorite? (My answer is all of them - and especially the beautiful copper pots.)

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on October 4th, 2017.

Photos used here are courtesy of Jacques Pépin and Sur La Table.


  • heyjude  on  9/2/2017 at 4:16 PM

    It was an honor to have Jacques Pepin sign my book.

  • Marcia1206  on  9/2/2017 at 4:19 PM

    I love Jacques Pepin too. I also have Heart and Soul and would LOVE his new book

  • rchesser  on  9/2/2017 at 4:24 PM

    I would love love love to have anything from his collection but what really caught my eye was the- Jacques Pépin Limited Edition Copper Oval Dutch Oven, 4 qt.

  • Maefleur  on  9/2/2017 at 4:35 PM

    I agree, everything is lovely, but I would love a copper bowl!

  • mcrimmins  on  9/2/2017 at 4:36 PM

    I love the Jacques Pepin Copper collection. If I win the lottery, I'm going to buy every piece.

  • Rinshin  on  9/2/2017 at 4:45 PM

    pasta bowls since I use them all the time.

  • jezpurr  on  9/2/2017 at 4:51 PM

    Any baker, spoonrest, or gloves would be awesome!!!^_^

  • lgroom  on  9/2/2017 at 4:53 PM

    This is almost impossible to pick just one thing I covet. I am chicken crazy so either the chicken plate or a framed dish towel.

  • debbielovesbooks  on  9/2/2017 at 4:59 PM

    So hard to choose, but agreed that copper pots are my dream items.

  • ejsimpson  on  9/2/2017 at 5:20 PM

    So hard to choose as I love everything! The kitchen linens, towels, napkins, cocktail napkins, the chicken dishes, soup plates...<3

  • RGolding  on  9/2/2017 at 5:22 PM

    I want to add the salt & pepper shakers to my collection. Love the pasta bowls too. Need a new set badly.

  • Elveenah  on  9/2/2017 at 5:24 PM

    The copper cookware- hands down. It's beautiful!

  • Joy001  on  9/2/2017 at 5:49 PM

    The copper collection, definitely!

  • pumpkinspice  on  9/2/2017 at 5:56 PM

    Beautiful, uplifting, heartfelt interview. I love the painted dishes, all of them.

  • Lyla  on  9/2/2017 at 6:12 PM

    All his books touch my heart, one way or another. Looking forward to Grandfather. I am dazzled by the copper pots. Love them

  • kmn4  on  9/2/2017 at 6:23 PM

    The chicken butter dish, creamer, and sugar bowl!

  • SilverSage  on  9/2/2017 at 6:28 PM

    I would love to have the oval copper gratin!

  • xaocfrau  on  9/2/2017 at 7:06 PM

    I love the copper pots.

  • Frmnjgal30  on  9/2/2017 at 7:12 PM

    the chicken knob handle for my Staub.

  • NancyLynn  on  9/2/2017 at 7:32 PM

    I love anything with the chickens!

  • LaurenE  on  9/2/2017 at 7:48 PM

    The copper oval dutch oven!

  • debra_cooks_bakes  on  9/2/2017 at 8:08 PM

    I like the rectangular Chickens Platter!

  • Nhcookingdiva  on  9/2/2017 at 8:21 PM

    Would LOVE to have this book!

  • mamacooking1120  on  9/2/2017 at 8:24 PM

    Copper, without a doubt!

  • FrenchCreekBaker  on  9/2/2017 at 9:17 PM

    I am going to vote for the limited edition copper oval baker. Can see myself baking mini boules in it, wearing his chicken apron and pot holders!

  • Kangelo  on  9/2/2017 at 9:19 PM

    I bought my sister the smaller set of dessert/salad dishes because they are so beautiful. I really iike the rectangular baker, and of course the gorgeous copper pots!

  • HelenB  on  9/2/2017 at 9:43 PM

    Copper rondeau or copper Dutch oven.

  • Yarnia  on  9/3/2017 at 12:01 AM

    The rondeau

  • Globegal  on  9/3/2017 at 12:22 AM

    The colander.

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  9/3/2017 at 6:59 AM

    I cant choose...i love it all...but since my High Holidays are coming up...the chicken soup bowls....

  • vickster  on  9/3/2017 at 7:54 AM

    Would love to have the figural chicken serving bowl. Love the whole collection!

  • Ziggy7  on  9/3/2017 at 9:36 AM

    I love his chickens, such fun!

  • dbielick  on  9/3/2017 at 10:02 AM

    The chicks au gratin

  • Siegal  on  9/3/2017 at 11:22 AM

    I love copper skillet

  • KudosKitchen1  on  9/3/2017 at 1:57 PM

    I think I would love the copper beating bowl most of all. After that, a watercolor apron. I would wear it with pride! Great interview, Jenny!!! I'm so happy you had this experience and could share it with all of us!

  • soffner  on  9/3/2017 at 4:13 PM

    Copper pots, absolutely. I'd love the beating bowl, I've always wanted one of those. Then the 3.7 qt sauteuse.

  • LarissaPrusak  on  9/3/2017 at 6:48 PM

    I love love love all the Rooster dishes. I wish I could buy everything. I love Jacques Pepin's love for his family.

  • southerncooker  on  9/3/2017 at 8:29 PM

    Love all the rooster and chicken things but think the double handled rooster bowls might be my favorite.

  • hedder14  on  9/4/2017 at 7:25 AM

    Love his pots and pans but totally would buy the oval baker

  • dmass  on  9/4/2017 at 9:04 AM

    Well... there are a few things. The chicken creamer, and butter dish, cocktail napkins and who would pass up the copper pots. :)

  • sgump  on  9/4/2017 at 1:20 PM

    The large copper rondeau: lovely!

  • ravensfan  on  9/4/2017 at 3:26 PM

    The Limited Edition Copper Oval Dutch Oven, 4 qt.

  • Shelley.b  on  9/4/2017 at 4:01 PM

    The copper cookware

  • okmosa  on  9/4/2017 at 7:46 PM

    A chicken serving platter or covered casserole. Or just about anything!'

  • love2chow  on  9/4/2017 at 7:49 PM

    Very hard decision, but I got it narrowed down to: Jacques Pépin Collection Chickens Platter and the adorable Double-Handle Chicks Bowls.

  • kpoole  on  9/4/2017 at 8:07 PM

    The Chickens Platter - Adorable

  • ktwalla  on  9/4/2017 at 8:43 PM

    I love his dinnerware - I could use it every day.

  • Hpan  on  9/5/2017 at 7:08 AM

    I love Jacques Pepin and I love chickens so naturally I love all his stuff. I do want that copper cooking collection though and the dinner plates with the chicken border.

  • Kellikinns  on  9/5/2017 at 7:32 AM

    The plates

  • CTCarol  on  9/5/2017 at 7:55 AM

    I'd love that tomato baker. Beautiful pieces!

  • BVENABLE  on  9/5/2017 at 7:55 AM

    I love anything with the chickens!

  • lstauff  on  9/5/2017 at 8:00 AM

    I love the chicken serving pieces!

  • Pnmargoles  on  9/5/2017 at 8:10 AM

    The copper roasting pan is amazing! And all the chickens!

  • NoelleD  on  9/5/2017 at 8:20 AM

    A wonderfully written blog and a chance to win something from Jacques Pepin! What a great start to my morning! I would love anything from the collection. But, I have to say the beet plate is absolutely charming.

  • cphayes2  on  9/5/2017 at 8:25 AM

    I think the Jacques Pepin Collection Grass Chickens are cute and would make a great kitchen accent !

  • Kattrinka  on  9/5/2017 at 8:29 AM

    Jaques is THE best teacher of technique ever!!

  • thatmrsmiller  on  9/5/2017 at 8:57 AM

    I met him earlier this year on Amelia Island. He signed my cookbook and it was such an honor to meet him.

  • chefschramm1  on  9/5/2017 at 9:06 AM

    I would love to have the copper cookware in my kitchen!

  • alwayschris  on  9/5/2017 at 9:12 AM

    I love the copper beating bowl. Of course it would be even better if Jacques would teach me to make a meringue

  • linmin  on  9/5/2017 at 9:35 AM

    Anything with a chicken or rooster on it!

  • Annrishell  on  9/5/2017 at 9:40 AM

    The chicken appetizer plates! They would get use everyday.

  • Bacicookspierogi  on  9/5/2017 at 9:48 AM

    I love the rooster so anything with the rooster would be great. And the cooper bowl to make whipped cream is another item I love.

  • helenwng  on  9/5/2017 at 9:57 AM

    The copper cookware, especially the Dutch oven, are gorgeous!

  • chrisch  on  9/5/2017 at 10:07 AM

    The copper cookware is gorgeous. Love the bowls. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • cherylrwalker  on  9/5/2017 at 10:18 AM

    OMG! I have always wanted to own any real copper cookware. My dream piece would be Jacque's 4 qt Copper Oval Dutch Oven.

  • canningandcookingathome  on  9/5/2017 at 10:21 AM

    I love EVERYTHING in his line!! The Copper Oval Dutch Oven is "to die for!"

  • echarpentier  on  9/5/2017 at 10:34 AM

    I would love the Copper Oval Dutch Oven! We have the rest of his line of copperware (LOVE IT) and only need that to round out the collection. Side note, Jacques is truly a class act. We've been to quite a few of his events and he never fails to impress.

  • Signe  on  9/5/2017 at 10:41 AM

    The copper dutch oven!

  • Jennifer7  on  9/5/2017 at 11:03 AM

    I have all of Jacques books and look forward to the new ones. All of his products at Sur La Table are beautiful, light and high quality. I would love anything from his collection.

  • BrowsingGlory  on  9/5/2017 at 11:43 AM

    I love the Jacques Pépin Copper Oval Dutch Oven, and what cook wouldn't? How many times have I tried to shove a chicken or a pork tenderloin in a round Dutch Oven? That would definitely be heaven in the kitchen. <3

  • Aboemi  on  9/5/2017 at 12:38 PM

    I love all of the items in the collection, but my favorites are the linens, aprons, and au gratin dishes.

  • Sailawaygirl  on  9/5/2017 at 1:13 PM

    The copper cookware is beautiful. I love the collection!

  • peachyfiglet  on  9/5/2017 at 1:36 PM

    The chicken dishes are just beautiful, and I love the copper cookware too. Love it all!

  • matag  on  9/5/2017 at 2:08 PM

    The copper pots!

  • yjones119  on  9/5/2017 at 4:43 PM

    I love it all! but especially the copper dutch oven!

  • Kmarquis  on  9/5/2017 at 5:05 PM

    Love him!!! Reading his books and watching him on PBS with his family and friends has enriched my life and love of cooking! It's true!! And love the copper oval dutch oven and anything with a rooster!

  • TheGeekyBibliophile  on  9/6/2017 at 1:03 AM

    It's all so beautiful, it's hard to choose which one I like best! But if I had to pick, I think I'd go with the 10 piece copper cookware set.

  • smileirish  on  9/6/2017 at 8:25 AM

    I would love to have the chicken creamer and the chicken apron. I love the chicken!

  • Alleycat  on  9/6/2017 at 8:53 AM

    I love the chicken serving bowl and the rectangular roaster. Been eyeing both since last fall!

  • bibliophile02  on  9/6/2017 at 9:33 AM

    Colander and pasta serving bowl :)

  • sarahawker  on  9/6/2017 at 10:48 AM

    The Copper Oval Dutch Oven, definitely! That would be a really really nice gift....

  • utterback  on  9/6/2017 at 1:46 PM

    the colander

  • JenJoLa  on  9/7/2017 at 10:23 AM

    Jacques Pépin Collection Figural Chicken Covered Bowl

  • bethrwitt  on  9/7/2017 at 11:36 AM

    amazing! Crazy about the copper cookware.

  • tarae1204  on  9/7/2017 at 11:51 AM

    The chicken themed cork backed placements would be nice! My grandmother always used that type of placement, and I loved the feel of the cushion between the plate and table.

  • DanieleK  on  9/7/2017 at 3:09 PM

    The copper dutch oven and all of the kitchen towels, especially the vegetables, catch my eye.

  • liasim  on  9/7/2017 at 7:01 PM

    Would love the chickens dinnerware set.

  • Kris125  on  9/7/2017 at 9:25 PM

    Love the Copper Rondeau

  • Dmartin997  on  9/8/2017 at 4:03 PM

    Chick's olive oil bottle would look great on my countertop.

  • Kerriedevay  on  9/8/2017 at 4:12 PM

    I like the rooster coffee mug. After Katrina there were no birds in New Orleans. First one I saw was a huge orange rooster with a black tail plume crossing the road. It made me happy! Think I have to order it!

  • bstewart  on  9/8/2017 at 5:45 PM

    That copper dutch oven is amazing!

  • choppergirl  on  9/8/2017 at 6:45 PM

    The chicken salt and pepper shakers are cute.

  • PennyG  on  9/9/2017 at 1:23 PM

    I'm a sucker for big ole pasta serving bowls.

  • mrmoas  on  9/9/2017 at 4:25 PM

    hard to pick one item from the collection, but I really like that menu baker

  • icicle  on  9/10/2017 at 8:28 AM

    Les torchons! -- the linen kitchen towels are my favorites.

  • Larkspur  on  9/10/2017 at 9:01 AM

    Jacques Pepin is one of my favorites--Cooking with Claudine helped me learn to cook. The copper cookware is beautiful--every piece is my favorite. The beet plate is pretty cute too.

  • FireRunner2379  on  9/10/2017 at 6:38 PM

    The Jacques Pépin Copper Beating Bowl, 5.1 qt. would look nice in my kitchen, I would just let it sit out all the time!

  • fiarose  on  9/10/2017 at 10:36 PM

    I love all the copper, but that teapot is just adorable!!

  • Karla123  on  9/11/2017 at 6:29 AM

    I love the beautifully designed Tomato Baker. What a prized piece to have in the kitchen.

  • lpatterson412  on  9/11/2017 at 4:15 PM

    I would love the copper oval dutch oven!!

  • skipeterson  on  9/11/2017 at 4:29 PM

    Copper Oval Gratin, 11.8"

  • gazelle_legs  on  9/11/2017 at 4:56 PM

    I *love* all the copper pieces too; really beautiful. The linens are super charming too!

  • AnneOther  on  9/11/2017 at 5:10 PM

    Would it be wrong to say that I would like to have pretty much anything from the Jacques Pepin collection in my home? But if I'm going to dream, I'll dream big, and say that I would most love to have the gorgeous Jacques Pepin Copper Roaster with Rack. Thanksgiving would never be the same again...

  • cookshelf58  on  9/12/2017 at 5:53 AM

    Copper, Copper, Copper

  • klrclark  on  9/13/2017 at 2:29 PM

    I so want the Chicken menu baker !!!!

  • Nancith  on  9/13/2017 at 3:51 PM

    The chicken creamer & sugar bowl are super cute.

  • echilt5  on  9/14/2017 at 1:55 AM

    The copper oval dutch oven <3

  • kitchenclimbers  on  9/14/2017 at 10:40 AM

    I really like the vegetable shaped dishes!

  • davisesq212  on  9/14/2017 at 5:28 PM

    I would love to have the Jacques Pépin Collection Figural Chicken Covered Baker!!!!

  • RSW  on  9/16/2017 at 6:58 AM

    Any of the copper pots.

  • SnarkyLarane  on  9/16/2017 at 5:46 PM

    That colander is pretty!

  • TNLamb  on  9/16/2017 at 7:13 PM

    Kitchen towels would be nice!

  • t.t  on  9/17/2017 at 1:26 AM

    I love the copper ware, especially the beating bowl

  • Shana.  on  9/23/2017 at 6:59 PM

    Jacques Pépin Collection Chicken with Chicks Linen Kitchen Towel

  • AnnaZed  on  9/23/2017 at 9:22 PM

    I want a Jacques Pépin Collection Chicken Menu Baker

  • schesshire  on  9/25/2017 at 6:50 PM

    A copper bowl, love whipping by hand.

  • tjos  on  9/25/2017 at 9:42 PM

    Chicken creamer and coffee cups!

  • Scotsman61  on  9/27/2017 at 12:47 AM

    Jacques Pépin Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set

  • mainman  on  9/27/2017 at 11:44 AM

    So many great looking things, but I have to say the copper beating bowl.

  • Teruska  on  9/27/2017 at 6:25 PM

    All the copper cookware especially the Jacques Pépin Limited Edition Copper Oval Dutch Oven, 4 qt.!

  • MaryAnneH  on  9/28/2017 at 7:48 AM

    I'd love the copper bowl, but would also covet any of the cookware.

  • traculart  on  9/28/2017 at 8:00 AM

    There's not much in the collection I would refuse...I crave the copper cookware..especially the oval skillet!

  • Dcraigclark  on  9/28/2017 at 9:04 AM

    Love Jacques Pepin! I'd love to add his book of menus to my collection.

  • KennethJames  on  9/28/2017 at 9:18 AM

    Anything in the copper collection I would like to tryout...

  • dusksunset  on  9/28/2017 at 3:22 PM

    The figural chicken covered baker (though storage would be a challenge)

  • sallansd  on  9/28/2017 at 8:30 PM

    I'd love the Jacques Pépin Limited Edition Copper Oval Dutch Oven, 4 qt.

  • circ2000  on  9/29/2017 at 7:13 AM

    The copper pots

  • kate  on  9/29/2017 at 1:27 PM

    Definitely the copper!

  • Rosesrpink50  on  9/29/2017 at 6:04 PM

    I love the double-handled chick bowls!

  • fbrunetti  on  9/30/2017 at 12:46 PM

    Copper Oval Gratin

  • valorie  on  9/30/2017 at 1:52 PM

    The copper pots for sure!

  • orchidlady01  on  10/1/2017 at 1:04 AM

    Jacques Pépin Copper Beating Bowl, 5.1 qt. and the Jacques Pépin Collection Colander

  • KarenDel  on  10/1/2017 at 10:37 AM

    I would like the Jacques Pépin Copper 10-Piece Cookware Set. Never be able to afford it though!

  • Maaseelulu  on  10/2/2017 at 12:23 AM

    Jacques Pépin Collection Figural Covered Tomato Bowl

  • Shipshape  on  10/3/2017 at 4:07 PM

    I think like so many here -- the copper cookware!!

  • LeighF  on  10/3/2017 at 4:16 PM

    The copper pans

  • Lynled  on  10/3/2017 at 4:29 PM

    Love the copper collection, especially the 4 qt. dutch oven...winning lottery ticket, PLease!

  • xaocfrau  on  10/3/2017 at 4:34 PM

    I love the copper pots.

  • catmommy9  on  10/3/2017 at 6:57 PM

    I love the chicken dinnerware!

  • JJWong  on  10/3/2017 at 11:00 PM

    His collection is classic and rustic. I'd love to add copper pot collection to my kitchen!

  • rivergait  on  10/4/2017 at 4:18 PM

    The chicken tote bag....reuseable grocery bag, reminding me every time I stop at the store of how much I admire Jacques Pepin and how much I like chickens (have had 400 rare and exotic birds, selling fertile eggs)

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