Synopses & Reviews
In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Award-winning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain. As a homesick boy in war-ravaged France, Jacques works on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. After the war he is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef.
When Jacques comes to America, he falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child. A master of the American art of reinvention, he goes on to earn a graduate degree from Columbia University, turn down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switch careers to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food.
Also included in this book are Jacques's all-time favorite recipes created during the course of a career spanning nearly half a century, from his mother's utterly simple cheese soufflé to his wife's pork ribs and red beans.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. It is also the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.
"Part of Pepin's appeal is that he is not a man who does things by the book. This may also explain why when just about every other food personality has already cranked out a kitchen memoir or two Pepin, the author of 21 cookbooks, waited until now to tell one of the liveliest stories of them all." Eve Zibart, Time Out New York
"As lively and personable as Pepin himself." Alison Arnett, The Boston Globe
"This charming memoir will not disappoint." Publishers Weekly
"In simple, light, unpretentious prose, chef and cooking teacher extraordinaire Pepin recounts his life in food and cooking." Mark Knoblauch, Booklist
"Prose as joyful and rich as the author's food." Kirkus Reviews
"[Pepin] made his way late to the written word, having been a chef before he was a scholar, and a teacher and a restaurateur before he published. But first the good luck is ours he was a hungry child, in a country in which food was religion, and in which history imprinted itself culinarily." Stacy Shiff, The New York Times
"Lest any reader think this is another saga of sex and drugs in the kitchen, it definitely is not. Instead, it's the story of just what it takes to turn a talented young Frenchman into one of the most admired figures in the culinary world." Judith Weinraub, The Washington Post
With sparkling wit and occasional pathos, Pepin tells the captivating story of his rise from a terrified 13-year-old toiling in an Old World French kitchen to an American culinary superstar.
From the moment of its publication, The Apprentice established itself as an and#147;instant classicand#8221; (Anthony Bourdain). With sparkling wit and occasional pathos, the man whom Julia Child has called and#147;the best chef in Americaand#8221; tells the captivating story of his rise from a terrified thirteen-year-old toiling in an Old World French kitchen to an American superstar who ad-libbed and demonstrated culinary wizardry as the cameras rolled and#151; and changed American tastes.
The Apprentice is an engrossing tale of the modern cooking scene and how it came to be, told from an engaging personal perspective. The story begins in prewar France, with young Jacques cutting his teeth in his motherand#8217;s small restaurants. Moving to Paris, it offers tantalizing glimpses of Sartre and Genet. In his role as Charles de Gaulleand#8217;s personal chef, Jacques witnesses history being made from behind the swinging door of the kitchen.
In America, he rejects an offer to be chef in the Kennedy White House, choosing instead to work at Howard Johnsonand#8217;s. He then proceeds to make some history of his own, creating a revolution with a band of fellow food lovers: Julia Child, James Beard, and Craig Claiborne. Culinary high jinks and revealing portraits ensue. The Apprentice also includes well-loved recipes, from Mamanand#8217;s Cheese Souffland#233; to Chicken Salad r la Danny Kaye.
A wise and charming memoir from a man who quickly ascended the ranks of American cooks to become, according to Julia Child, "the best chef in America"
With sparkling wit, occasional humility, and a delightfully curated selection of recipes, Jacques Pand#233;pin tells the captivating story of his rise from a terrified thirteen-year-old toiling in an Old World French kitchen to an American superstarand#8212;he was one of the earliest pioneers of culinary televisionand#8212;who changed American tastes with his culinary wizardry and ad-libbed charm. The Apprentice begins in prewar France, with young Jacques cutting his teeth in his motherand#8217;s small restaurants. When he moves to Paris, we see tantalizing glimpses of Sartre and Genet, and in his role as Charles de Gaulleand#8217;s personal chef, Jacques witnesses history from a remarkable vantage point behind the swinging kitchen door. In America, he rejects an offer to be chef in the Kennedy White House, choosing instead to work at Howard Johnsonand#8217;s, and then joins forces with fellow food lovers Julia Child, James Beard, and Craig Claiborne to make some history of his own. In the words of Anthony Bourdain, it's an instant classic.
About the Author
Jacques Pépin is author of twenty-one cookbooks, including Jacques Pépins Table and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. He has starred in thirteen PBS programs in the past twenty years. He has received many awards for his work, including James Beard Awards, IACP Cookbook Awards, and an Emmy. He was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996.