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)
This was a delightful autobiography that I enjoyed from start to finish. The early sections on his childhood are told with a sense of sustained innocent, despite the privations of the second World War. The entire story is told with honesty and humor. Read social commentary is also present-- from a call for more African-Americans as chefs (and a condemnation for our failure in that there aren't more), to the joys of real food and care and joy in it's preparation, to a philosophy on the feeding of children. Reports of his friendships with Julia Child, Howard Johnson, and other important figures are told with affection but also honesty. I was sorry when this book ended!
P?pin describes his life through the various jobs he's held, and emphasizes his love of food. The narrator does a good job of transmitting the author's words in a warm way.
P?pin talks about his jobs, his friends, his views on food. A great book for those who have admired his career, or who want to know more about this amazing chef.
I have been a line cook for 10 years and a professional chef for 2 now. This book is an absolute must read for every aspiring or even seasoned chef. Jacques truly is an all American success story. This book is beautifully read (albeit with a few pronunciation errors) as well as wonderfully written. Before I was a chef I was an English major. There are two things in this world I know, food and good writing, this book satisfied my need for both.
He has led a very interesting life. Much like Forrest Gump he has met or worked with a great deal of celebrities and world figures. I quite enjoyed his stories.
I will forever be a fan of Jacques Pepin after reading this book. The man has lived an amazing life and tells his stories with humor and sincerity.
The narrator does a wonderful job as well!
After listening to this book, I liked Jacques Pepin more than ever. His accounts of growing up, becoming a cook, moving to the U.S. and establishing a career here are a must-read for those who are interested in food and cooking. I was sorry it ended!
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