×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Jacques Pepin Talks Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award: ‘I Was Flabbergasted’

The specific ingredients of Jacques Pépin’s Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech at this year’s Daytime Emmys are unknown, but count on a dash or two of modesty.

The world-famous chef says he was deeply touched when he was told the honor — the first to go to someone in the cooking genre — was being bestowed upon him.

“It’s amazing because the food world has not been recognized much at this level,” Pépin says. “When I spoke to David Michaels [the senior vice president of daytime at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences], I told him I’d like to thank whoever nominated me. I was flabbergasted.”

Born in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, in 1935, Pépin developed a passion and respect for cooking after his mother, Jeannette, opened a restaurant, Le Pélican. As a young man, he worked at Le Plaza Athénée in Paris where a chef pal regaled Pépin with stories of life in Washington, D.C.

In 1959, his dream of visiting America came true. “I thought I’d come here, learn the language, and go back, but from the first moment I landed in New York, I loved it,” he says.

In the Big Apple, Pépin met Helen McCully, food editor at McCall’s, and that led to friendships with chefs Julia Child and James Beard, as well as New York Times critic Craig Claiborne, whom Pépin calls “the trinity of the food world.” After quitting his job at the now-defunct Le Pavillon over a labor dispute, two opportunities appeared: working for newly elected President Kennedy and a position at Howard Johnson’s in New York. He chose HoJo’s orange roof over the White House, not fully considering the prestige of cooking in Camelot. However, he says that his decade at HoJo’s was invaluable.

In 1974, Pépin, now a family man, opened his own restaurant, La Potagerie, and earned two degrees at Columbia. Trying not to hit a deer on the road one night, Pépin was in a horrific car accident but defied doctors with his recovery. Upon re-evaluating his life, he became a cooking instructor at Boston University and a New York Times food columnist. He also authored 25 books on different topics, including preparing food on a budget and making heart-healthy recipes.

Appearances on television series such as “What’s My Line?” and “The Mike Douglas Show” opened another door: In 1988, Marjorie Poore, then executive producer at the San Francisco station KQED-TV, approached Pépin about doing his own program. While he has had a few, his most notable was “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home” with Child, earning a Daytime Emmy in 2001.

“Cooking shows are [now] more about being competitive and fighting,” he says. “Yes, you have to be disciplined and strict, but you don’t have to yell.”

Pépin says food shows should always be part of the television landscape, but not just for their informative value. In 2017, he penned “A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen With Shorey,” featuring his granddaughter.

“When she was 3 years old, she’d stand on a box next to me in the kitchen and was my assistant. I’d say to her, ‘This is parsley.’ We’d go to the market and I’d show her how to tell if a pear is ripe or not. She’s 15 now and one of the ways we communicate is through iPhones. The food gives us something in common.”

More TV

  • 'Saturday Night Live' Offers Prayers for

    'Saturday Night Live' Offers Prayers for Trump (Watch)

    “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kate McKinnon resumed her role as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the Dec. 7 episode to offer a few prayers for Donald Trump. During the “Weekend Update” segment, co-anchor and “SNL” co-head writer Colin Jost first commented on Pelosi being asked if she hated President Trump during her [...]

  • Spongebob Squarepants Mr Kiasu

    Singapore Comiccon: Spongebob Squarepants Collides With Local Character Mr Kiasu

    Enormously popular Nickelodeon character, SpongeBob SquarePants is 20 this year. To commemorate the anniversary Nickelodeon commissioned Singaporean artist Johnny Lau, creator of iconic local animated character Mr Kiasu, to draw a coffee table book converging the wildly diverse worlds of the two. Lau released the book “Mr Kiasu Meets SpongeBob SquarePants” at the Singapore ComicCon [...]

  • America's Got Talent Simon Cowell

    Simon Cowell Lawyers Up From Abroad as 'America's Got Talent' Investigation Begins (EXCLUSIVE)

    “America’s Got Talent” executive producer Simon Cowell has set his legal representation for an investigation into the NBC competition series, which was announced by the network this week after a lengthy meeting with ousted judge Gabrielle Union. Cowell has hired Larry Stein, a longtime litigator in Hollywood and media spaces, multiple individuals familiar with the [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin Hijacks 'Peloton

    Ryan Reynolds Hijacks 'Peloton Wife,' Wrings New Buzz From Old Ad Trick

    The “Peloton Wife” is on the verge of striking up a new relationship outside her marriage The actress who plays the controversial Madison Avenue figure in a commercial for the luxury physical-fitness company is back in a new ad campaign – for another marketer that has little to do with promoting a healthy lifestyle. Aviation [...]

  • Shefali Shah in Delhi Crime

    'Delhi Crime’ Wins Big at Asian Academy Creative Awards

    Richie Mehta’s harrowing Netflix series “Delhi Crime” was the big winner at the 2nd annual Asian Academy Creative Awards in Singapore on Friday. Representing the show, lead actress Shefali Shah was rushed off her feet as she repeatedly had to return to the stage. “Delhi Crime” earned her best actress in a leading role, best [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content