My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s hard for me to give this book anything but five stars because I absolutely love Jacques Pepin. I have been been watching him on TV for years, I have a few of his cookbooks, and he actually signed my copy of The Apprentice when I met him after a cooking demonstration.
So yes, I gave this book five stars because I have a very pro-Pepin bias. (If I didn’t know Pepin, I might have given this four stars.) However, there is a lot to love here even if you don’t know Pepin!
Pepin’s life story is quite incredible and his fun-loving personality shines through in The Apprentice. Growing up in World War II France with little food, he learned a lot from his mother, who was also an inspiring figure. Pepin worked in and, by busting his chops, achieved notoriety at some of the biggest restaurants of Paris and the US. (JFK offered him the job of white house chef! And Pepin turned it down because he had already cooked for the government in France and didn’t think it would be worth the work!) He was in the the US at the exact time that food and cooking exploded into the mainstream. He also helped make that explosion possible through his work alongside food legends like James Beard, Julia Child and Craig Claiborne. He had so many awesome life experiences that I couldn’t even list them all here.
Through it all, Pepin became the quintessential American chef and I highly recommend The Apprentice to anyone interested in food or cooking.