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"The Apprentice" - Pepin's memoires


FoodMan
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Hi -

Just checked Amazon.com for "A Chef's Tale: A Memoir of Food, France and America "

and they have a number of used copies available. Just click on the Amazon link at the bottom of this page.

From your friendly librarian!

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I grew up watching Jaques on PBS and was always impressed with his knife skills. Knife skills are a trademark of a skilled chef. I have met Jaques on 6 occasions and each time he has remembered my name.........impressive.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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My interest and fondness for French cuisine makes me a bit reluctant to push this book too greatly as I doubt too many members share that interest to the same degree

No need for reluctance in pushing this book. I just finished reading it and found it excellent. I do not have an overriding interest in French cuisine (at least not in comparison to any other cuisine) and am in no way a food professional. More an interested bystander. IMO, this book is an outstanding read to anyone with even a passing interest in food or the profession...

Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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According to Franey's excellent autobiography--"A Chef's Tale"

Can anyone recommend other chef biographies that are worth checking out.

johnjohn

ok, I'm sure you already have A. Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential", right???

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The article on him and this book in Saveur had some great pictures. What a hottie he was back in his young days. walking down the Champs-Elysées with other chefs, he in black turtleneck, cap and a cigerette dangling from those sexy lips. He looked better than any French movie star.(be still my heart)

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

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My opinion of Jacques Pepin is that he is absolutely top notch. His hands create magic. His personality is warm and kind. He has done a lot of teaching about food and he impresses me as a principled person.

I just read the book. I wasn't impressed. With him, yes, with the book, not really. The language felt stilted and over edited. I wanted to love it, I just didn't.

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The article on him and this book in Saveur had some great pictures. What a hottie he was back in his young days. walking down the Champs-Elysées with other chefs, he in black turtleneck, cap and a cigerette dangling from those sexy lips. He looked better than any French movie star.(be still my heart)

I've been waiting for someone to bring this up. My feelings exactly :wub:

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Do not, under any circumstances, buy Reflexions by Richard Olney unless you really want to know about every single person he ever slept with, every party he ever went to, every ancient ruin he ever visited, every picture he ever painted. I have tried on several occasions to get through the thing and have failed dismally. Utterly tedious.

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Aw come on, the guy's French.  Of course it's going to be overedited.

While the language might seem stilted to some, I wonder what was meant by "over edited." Spencer, you seem to love the cheap shot, but of course you're a country club chef in Memphis. See what I mean? Coulld you put some substance behind that inane remark?

I had no problem with the detached way in which Pepin delivered his story. His life was quite exceptional and I was glad to hear his story without being subjected to emotional pleas or poetic embelishments. I found it a good job of reporting. While I had no trouble putting the book down to attend to things I had to do, I was eager to pick it up again each time and finished the book in a few days.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Aw come on, the guy's French.  Of course it's going to be overedited.

While the language might seem stilted to some, I wonder what was meant by "over edited." Spencer, you seem to love the cheap shot, but of course you're a country club chef in Memphis. See what I mean? Coulld you put some substance behind that inane remark?

I had no problem with the detached way in which Pepin delivered his story. His life was quite exceptional and I was glad to hear his story without being subjected to emotional pleas or poetic embelishments. I found it a good job of reporting. While I had no trouble putting the book down to attend to things I had to do, I was eager to pick it up again each time and finished the book in a few days.

Over edited means, to me: simplistic sentence structure and descriptive terms that do not feel as if the author came up with them on his own.

When you say detached: I think that detached is part of the problem for me. I know he's a chef and not a writer but this is, after all, a book and not a meal.

The stories were related with a minimum of emotion. They felt like a stock that was missing the bouquet garni.

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Well Bux, if this is another Spencer is bashing the French thing again I beg your pardon. I just purchased The Apprentice today and find it fascinating already. The war stories are compelling, his maman was quite the hero and of course his father...

I hadn't read a lick of the book when I made the overediting comment. I was referring to the fact that a lot of French write like they talk--which in English could make for some grammatical inconsistencies. Like read the intro. to Perrier's cookbook Le Bec Fin recipes. It's written exactly like he talks--and I find that entertaining because it belies Perrier's true character. Though Pepin is obviously well versed in English there's always the possibility that Franglais may not make it past an editor. To read a whole 293 page book of it would be a feat better suited for a linguistical gymnast.

just for the record...

I LOVE THE FRENCH. I'VE LIVED IN FRANCE (MEAUX, 24 rue de la croisee, 77110). EVERYONE I CAME IN CONTACT WITH WAS ERUDITE AND PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD AND LIFE. THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY PUSHED AMERICA'S BUTTONS IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE TO ME. IT'S OK TO CHIDE THEM IN GOOD FUN, NOT OK TO CHUCK THEIR WINE IN THE RIVER.

BUT FUCK JERRY LEWIS.

Edited by Chef/Writer Spencer (log)
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I LOVE THE FRENCH.  I'VE LIVED IN FRANCE (MEAUX, 24 rue de la croisee, 77110).  EVERYONE I CAME IN CONTACT WITH WAS ERUDITE AND PASSIONATE ABOUT FOOD AND LIFE.  THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY PUSHED AMERICA'S BUTTONS IS OF NO CONSEQUENCE TO ME.  IT'S OK TO CHIDE THEM IN GOOD FUN, NOT OK TO CHUCK THEIR WINE IN THE RIVER.

BUT FUCK JERRY LEWIS.

sonny:

The stories were related with a minimum of emotion. They felt like a stock that was missing the bouquet garni.

Ouch y'all. Over edited? Simple sentence structure? Detached? Lacking poetic style? Something amiss? Really???????

On the contrary. I found beauty in his well chosen words and stories. I find it more succinct and compendious. I just purchased and read in nearly one read. I was glad not to find his writing pithy, verbose or loquacious, which at times may be deemed as quality traits of the writings of a cook book. It was what needed to be said and to the point. Somewhat how I feel he views his cooking. To the point of how it is made, done in the tradition of how he himself learned.

BTW, the man that stole and owns my heart, and influences my reading (among many things), is a wild Northern Irishman that is truly an eruditous sort that has lived, written and taught in Paris while earning his doctorial thesis. La joie de vie. Many fine and lovely Europeans I know write as they speak. I enjoy that too.

Edited by beans (log)
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I just purchased and read in nearly one read.  I was glad not to find his writing pithy, verbose or loquacious, which at times may be deemed as quality traits of the writings of a cook book.

I haven't read the book, but you were glad it wasn't pithy? Why?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I finished the book yesterday. I also noticed the dry style of the writing but wasn’t particularly bothered by it. Overall I thought it was a great read. I couldn’t wait to compare notes with the Franey bio so I started at the chapter where Jacques arrived in NYC. The two books are so similar in the way their lives paralleled each another. From their separate--but almost identical--apprenticeships to their working together. One compliments and fills-out the stories in the other.

Dry or not there’s some well-crafted, seriously funny writing in here. The incident with the hippie lady selling the ducks had me spewing Bass Ale out of my nose.

In fact all of the Hunter Mountain material was an unexpected bonus for me. I worked a weekend gig with a band there for a couple of months at around that time. I cringed when he described the accident. That road was dangerous even without the deer running across it. We used to drive up and down it to get to a great seafood restaurant next to the Thruway because there was nowhere to eat up on the mountain in the springtime except for the universe’s worst pizza joint in Tannersville and a sad diner in Haines Falls. Or so we thought. One weekend we found a small restaurant in the middle of Hunter that had absolutely fantastic food. The type of well-made stuff you’d expect in a good NYC restaurant. I could never figure out what that restaurant was doing there or why it was open during the off-season when the town was deserted. Now I know.

PJ

"Epater les bourgeois."

--Lester Bangs via Bruce Sterling

(Dori Bangs)

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I haven't read the book, but you were glad it wasn't pithy? Why?

Perhaps because Pepin isn't pithy.

That makes sense, Spencer.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 month later...

OK I just read The Apprentice. Fantastic great book. Tremendous insight, from a nearly unimpeachable first-hand expert informant, into U.S. cookery and dining habits during a period of major change.

Good to see Craig Claiborne covered in what seemed to me a reasonably balanced manner -- dovetailed with Craig Claiborne's Favorites, collections of Claiborne's NYT columns providing another window into the period. At least a couple of the events written up by CC also appear in The Apprentice.

Also it is so cool how French chef types forage, seriously forage, for wild foodstuffs whatever their immediate environment.

Priscilla

Writer, cook, & c. ● #TacoFriday observant ●  Twitter    Instagram

 

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Also it is so cool how French chef types forage, seriously forage, for wild foodstuffs whatever their immediate environment.

Ha ha. I liked that too.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 7 months later...

If you liked Jacques Pépin before reading this book, you will love him even more afterward. A charming, lovely person, he is also a great writer and storyteller as well.

From his days as a 5 year old in Bourg-en-Bresse to his house in Connecticut of today, you feel that you are living right along with him his adventures of cooking and working in the restaurants in France, and his move to the US almost 40 years ago.

The book also gives one a great insight to the workings of restaurants and their staff. The most interesting was La Plaza Athenée in Paris(way before Ducasse) where they rotated the kitchen staff so that eventually everyone would know how to do everything! Jacques sadly says that this practice is almost never practiced anywhere else. He also talks about the Societé in Paris, a type of union hall, where restaurants give job listings and job-seekers show up at this central hiring place to be referred to the restaurants.

A delightful read, the book is also sprinkled with recipes relating to the stories he is telling. I love this book! I love Jacques Pépin!!

Has anybody else read the book, please share your feelings?

Any hope of getting JP here for a Q & A? (Wouldn't that be great!)

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Great book, but the weird part was I read the whole thing with a french accent. Like it was jacques who was reading me the story. Weird, but in a cool kind of way.

I liked the part about working for HoJo's, my self.

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