As a homesick 6-year-old 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. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's cafe, 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 he comes to America, he falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child. The master of the American art of reinvention, Jacques 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.
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.
©2003 Jacques Pepin; (P)2003 Houghton Mifflin Company
"Fast-moving and often touching....[A] charming memoir." (Publishers Weekly)
"As one of the world's most celebrated chefs, Jacques Pepin has much to share when it comes to great food. However, this memoir is every bit as delicious as one of his finest recipes. Free of any pretension, complaint, or histrionics, Pepin's story recalls difficult times in war-torn France, fighting invaders and poverty with equal determination. Michel Chevalier offers a perfect voice for Pepin's anecdotes and memories, using his musical French accent to add just the right flavor. Any reader who loves food and a good story will enjoy listening to this memoir." (AudioFile)
A lovely food memoir, well written and well read, but really not an unabridged reading. Whoever decided to omit the recipes at the end of each chapter and their description about how they pertain to the story was a fool and is truely cheating the listener of the whole book. This book will definitely make you hanker for a taste of classical French cooking. Anyone who reads about food is surely to be interested in the recipes. I would not have know about the recipes if I didn't own the book.
Jacque Pepin's story has many facets which he relates in an honest and unpretentious way. I came away with a great respect for the man and an enhanced view of cooking, especially in the selection of ingredients. One hears about choosing fresh and seasonal items, but Pepin tells what that means in very specific ways. Be advised that this book can make you very hungry.
I got interested in chef's memoirs after listenign to Anthony Bourdain's _Kitchen Confidential_. Jacques Pepin's life isn't as racy as Bourdain's, but it's in some ways much more intersting. Even though I've seen him on public television, I never knew about the twists and turns his career took in getting him to that point. The story is told with good humor and an abiding love for family and food. In the process you learn a lot about the history of cuisine in America and Pepin's influence of what you eat every day even now.
The book is read very well, not by Pepin himself but by someone with an accent very much like his. It was great fun to hear it.
We read The Apprentice for my book club... I got a great reading from Michel Chevalier (including the accent,) but missed out on the recipes in between chapters.
I found this memior very moving and inspirational. Jacques' life is an incredible one, beautifully written. His stories conjure up wonderful smells and tastes. The day after finishing this book, I purchased Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques - which is now a staple in my kitchen.
I found this book enjoyable for its descriptions of food, France during the war, the life an apprentice chef, life as a cook in New York in the early 60s, life as Howard Johnson's corporate cuisine designer (who knew that Howard Johnson's used to have pretty good food?) and of life as a name-brand chef. It is not a masterwork; there are no great insights into either the world or the author's character (he mentions that a car accident left him a drug addict, but never mentions the problem again) but it is a good listen. Foodies will probably delight in his enthusiastic and thorough description of many of the fine meals he's made, and of the chefs he's known and loved (and hated.)
The author's stories about his mother
Jaque Pepin; He was the subject of the book
Inflections and correct pornunciation of French terms
Laugh many times
Felt as if I was watching the activity. Well written.
I really liked this book. I have read many books of the same ganre and this one is rigth up there at the top.
Jacques of course.
A little monotone
If food interestes you and the process of becoming a great chef intreges you then listen to this book.
With his meager roots in the French countryside to his quick wit and vivid descriptions of cuisine, it's a Foodie's guide to the evolution of food in America. History, culture, drama, comedy, and of course food, this book has something for everyone.
Wonderfully narrated (I'm a sucker for a French accent) this book was a Godsend on a dreary day on vacation.
I adored this book from start to finish. I have listened to Anthony Bourdain (loved him) and Ruth Reichl (loved her). Jacques was very good in talking about his early and extraordinary French culinary training as a boy continuing on into his adulthood.
I have always liked Jacques Pepin. I liked the way he interacted with Julia Child on the PBS series. He is just a likeable fellow! When I saw this book, I couldn't wait to learn more about him. The reader's French accent made it feel like Jacques was telling me about his life. The story endeared me even more to Chef Pepin. I hope you like it as much as I did! by Anne (not Robert)
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