Stir-the-Pots co-founder Jeremy Shapiro spent three years serving in the American military as a cook in Germany. Coming back to America, he went back to school. Specifically, he went to study under Chef Jacque Pepin, who was teaching at New York’s French Culinary Institute (now part of ICE). That was the 1980s, and Pepin mentored many folks in the food world.
For Jeremy, Chef Pepin was an extraordinary teacher; wise, solid, and generous. What Jeremy most remembers is he his mastery as a leader and a chef. In Jeremy’s words, “most chefs are yellers and screamers, throwing the pots and the pans. Chef Pepin could guide you so precisely… without ever raising his voice.”
Chef Pepin had been cooking professionally since the 1950s. By the time Jeremy studied under him, Chef Pepin was out of restaurant kitchens. Besides teaching, he was writing books and becoming one of the first big names in television chefs. But he inspired lasting respect from many aspiring chefs like Jeremy.
Twenty years later, Jeremy helped start Stir the Pots. And since leaving the army and cooking school, Jeremy had worked in multiple New York, from restaurants to hotels to private clubs. And since starting Stir the Pots, Jeremy was interested in creating a chance to speak with Chef Pepin. The man was proving so fluid in moving with the times. The man managed to be both warm and… well grounded. Someone who spoke honestly and generously and precisely. And someone who could adapt to new technologys without them getting in this way. So Jeremy reached out. Chef Pepin agreed.
So here Jacques Pepin reflects on decades spent pursuing, enjoying and creating great meals. This includes sharing everything from growing up in his mother’s restaurant back in France to one of his first cooking jobs in America, working at the iconic Howard Johnson’s. At the time, we were using really basic technology. It shows. Luckily, we had a man with a spirit that is infectious. It’s still fun listening after all these years. Just click below to enjoy.