Jacques Pepin's "The Apprentice"
By mduigou on Sep 27, 2004
No no, not that horrible Donald Trump shlock. (I did watch one episode and my only reaction is the Futurama tagline "You watched it, you can't unwatch it"). I think it's a couple years old but I read Jacques Pepin's memoir of his life as a chef last week. I haven't enjoyed a cooking related book so much since "Kitchen Confidential". I really got a sense of his passion for food and the origins of that passion. I also got some sense of his way of living, particularly in the first dozen chapters and then through the recipes and comments he presents at the begining of the later chapters. I'm never going to be a professional chef or involved in the restraunt business. No way. I have immense respect for those who chose this life, but as much as I like food and cooking it will never be something it could do. There were a lot of things which surprised me about "The Apprentice". I had expected a very sentimental "inspirational" book with lots of celebrity name dropping. Quite a number of famous names appear, but I really got the sense that he offered the same respect in naming his many influences and co-workers, people who in most cases would have remained complete unknowns. The other thing which was really surprising to me was the degree of similarity to Anthony Bourdain's memoir "Kitchen Confidential". It's clear that Pepin and Bourdain would agree on many things even though their courses through life and their education's are so different. It would be really great to see them interviewed at the same time by Charlie Rose. The book was not perfect though. Pepin's work at Howard Johnson's clearly had a strong impact on his life and thoughts about cooking and food. He mentions it fairly regularly in his various TV shows, but I still didn't have a full understand of why after reading this memoir. There was also an element of "some things which happened" such as how he became chef to the French Prime Minister. A description was given as to the sequence of events which occurred, but something seemed to be missing in terms of describing the "how" and "why" of what happened. An excellent read, especially for those interested in food.