Jacques Pépin discusses changes in the food world

Jacques PepinJacques Pépin  remembers the first food that was more than sustenance for him: fresh milk from a cow. In an interview with the LA Times, Pépin recalls this and other gems as he recounts how the food world has changed since his childhood in WWII France. He also discusses what it was like to be on television in the culinary genre’s earliest days. 

Recalling his early days as a chef in New York City, Pépin noted that the universe of high-end of food was small and insular: “When I came to America at the end of 1959, six months after I was here I had made friends with Julia Child and James Beard, and Craig Claiborne had just started at the New York Times,” he noted. Pépin continued: “It was so small, in fact, I did not know one single American chef that was white.”

The iconic chef also talks about how the food world was changed in the intervening decades – for better and for worse, depending on which metric you are counting. He cautions young people who see glamorous television chefs about the reality of cooking in a restaurant, with long hours, relatively low pay, and little recognition for the vast majority of chefs. “Unless you really love it and you have the bug, then you should not go into that business,” he says. 

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