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Jacques Pepin in Arlington Tonight


|dumplin'|
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I enjoyed his book.  I think Ruth Reichl's stuff was more entertaining, but Pepin's was a worthy read.

Pepin's memoirs have more than a whif of profiteering about them, and lack the artistry of other memoirs. On the other hand, his contribution to the culinary education of America is almost unrivaled -- Reichle couldn't carry his chef's knife -- and he has more than earned the right to earn a few kopeks from his old drinking stories.

If I didn't fear it was going to be a mob scene (and if I weren't ditching the kids tomorrow for an rGullet roundup), I'd be there in second.

Al has the right idea -- ambush him at dinner.

Edited by Busboy (log)

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I was heading to a friend's in Ballston anyway, so I stopped by the Pepin event. Pretty crowded. He spoke for only about 15 minutes or so, but then did Q&A for another 45 minutes. People actually asked some interesting questions.

What did he think of El Bulli and it's followers?

Thought it was very interesting movement and that they were doing things no one ever would have thought to do before. However, as an aside about 'destination' restaurants in general, he said that good food need not be complicated. "How often have you raved about simple food, saying 'that was the best roast chicken or the best hamburger, etc..'? Good quality ingredients handled well can be the most satisfying thing". Or maybe this was just him getting old, he said.

Alot of questions led to some fascinating digressions about cooking in America over the past few decades. He's thrilled with how far grocery stores have come. Said it used to be that you had to go to a specialty store just to get button mushrooms (he remembered going into grocery stores and asking where the mushrooms were and then being directed to the canned goods aisle). Loves the multiculturalism of America and the wide range of available cuisine ("In France, 99% of the people only eat French food").

Said he has a new series coming out on PBS in the Fall: "Fast Food, My Way". Also, he said the best secret in New York is the 5-course dinner at L'Ecole, the French Culinary Institute's restaurant (Pepin is the dean). Price: $30 (!)

Asked him where he was eating that night, just out of curiosity. Said he wasn't sure.

Chris Sadler

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I was heading to a friend's in Ballston anyway, so I stopped by the Pepin event.

Thanks for the report. He had noted in his book the changing nature of supermarkets. I think he's absolutely right about that. What a pain in the ass it was to have to go crosstown for an essential "speciality" ingredient for anyone who wanted to cook something besides meat loaf or fish stix.

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I loved his book, but then I've followed him since I was but a kid with his publication of La Technique. Felt after reading the memoir he'd be a blast over a bottle of wine. Personally, I think he could care less about gaining anything from it. I just have the gut feeling he likes what he is doing and has made a good life from it, and probably felt it was about time to look back on his life in cooking. I'm really glad he did. (I get more of a sense of "profiteering" from a host of would be "masters" seen on any number of cable shows).

I think we in America owe him a far bigger debt than he probably gets credit for. Because he has, along with Julia and others, brought French technique and cuisine to the masses, it is easy to forget his true import under the garish glare of celebrity chefdom and the phenom it has become. But were it not for Chef Pepin and his cohorts and colleagues, we'd might still be making velveeta surprise using canned spinach.

Paul

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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Don't know where he's eating tonight- but last night he dined at the National Press Club.

http://www.press.org/abouttheclub/restaurants.cfm

If I call his publishing house, does that cross the "stalker" line? :raz:

|dumplin'|

Are you the City Books reviewer for WCP? My young guess.

You know about advertising/editorial budget at WPC, your first post was a poem, and you posted about Art-o-matic. That's very CP. :smile:

...

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Hi Morela-

I am not on the CP payroll but have been tapped to write articles on music and other events from time to time. I have also partnered with them for Literacy Volunteer fundraisers -- showcasing local bands. Citypaper is great for publicizing grass-roots DC events.

As an update-- the meal-o-matic efforts are progressing well, with several chef volunteers. I will post more information as it becomes available.

cheers-

dumplin'

Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.

Anna Freud

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