Fans of chef Jacques Pépin are loving this fun new take on chickens, art and travel
Iconic chef, culinary teacher extraordinaire, television and social media personality, prolific author and philanthropist, Jacques Pepin (87 next month) continues to amaze with her energy and artistry. The recent publication of his 31st book, The Art of Chicken: Paintings, Stories and Recipes from a Great Humble Bird Chef (published by Harvest Books, an imprint of William Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers), is already a bestseller. The 228-page hardcover – an endearing look at Pepin’s accomplished life – features a treasure trove of chicken and egg recipes from around the world, which are described for readers not as a typical ingredient list, but more like stories, as though Pépin is by your side, in your house, suggesting to you, as a friend would informally, how to cook a favorite dish, like Arroz with Pollo or Southern Fried Chicken or Rooster in wine or The Best French Toast. Reading his written words, Pepin fans will likely also “hear” his soothing French-accented voice, which is perfectly recognizable from watching his KQED PBS-TV cooking series, as well as videos on Youtube and Facebook. His essays, seasoned with humorous and poignant anecdotes, shed light on Pépin’s leaps – from growing up in France, helping his mother in his family’s small village restaurant, then leaving home forever at 13 to do his apprenticeship. in the rigorous kitchens of renowned European restaurants; handle exciting and eye-opening jobs, such as personal chef to French President Charles de Gaulle; and move to the United States, continuing his award-winning professional trajectory. However, the main objective that makes it New book that stands out from all the others is the inclusion, for the first time, of almost 100 paintings by Pépin, some of which are presented underneath. To discover an attractive Forbes interview with him, go to Legendary chef Jacques Pépin, 86, on the joys of Thanksgiving, traveling, helping others and not slowing down. If you are interested in owning a Pépin art print or an original work of art, please visit here.
In The art of chicken‘s introduction, Pépin writes: “I haven’t been painting as long as I’ve been cooking, but it’s been more than half a century since I took a brush instead of a knife and started to find creative fulfillment in another way. About fifty years ago I started a tradition of writing down and saving dinner menus that we had at home. I illustrated my menus with whimsical representations of animals, flowers, fruits, vegetables, vines, landscapes. It was only after acquiring a thick pile of these memories that I realized that an unusually high percentage of my drawings depicted chickens, often in comical and playful poses. I reimagined birds parading as leeks, cabbages, pineapples, artichokes – wherever my brush took me. Time and time again I ended up painting chickens, and they were an endless source of inspiration for me. The resulting oil and acrylic canvases – expressive, insightful, vibrant and playful – are certainly feathers in Pépin’s hat.
The art of chicken unfolds 12 sparkling chapters. Pépin first launches into the theme of the book: “Proust had his madeleine, I have chickens. As a chef, I am impressed by the humble bird’s contributions to world cuisine. As an artist, I marvel at the iridescent colors and varied beauty of its plumage. And the little boy in me never tires of watching the social interactions and antics of chickens, whether they peck and scratch in American farmyards or along streets in developing countries. Whether I am in France, China, Italy, Spain, Africa, Mexico, Greece, Canada or here in the United States, the cockcrow at sunrise is a universal language that proclaims triumph light in the darkness… [It] records something peaceful and comforting, like the church bells ringing in the morning in France. I wake up in a friendly world.
Relax with stellar stories about his friendship with Julia Child and their popular TV program. Pepin and Child could never agree on the ideal way to roast a chicken, but they were in total agreement that “one of life’s greatest pleasures is a perfectly roasted chicken served with a deglazing sauce made from the brown bits left in the roasting pan. Other celebrity-rich chestnuts spice up the pages, like the surprising Best Chicken Salad, dreamed up by famed actor and comedian Danny Kaye.
“I was born and raised in Bresse, a region located about thirty-five kilometers northeast of Lyon, says Pépin. “In France, Bresse is also synonymous with [its] succulent chickens…as Bordeaux is with good wine. Besides being delicious, the hens in my native region are beautiful creatures, large with striking blue legs, shiny white feathers and bright red crests: blue White Red — the colors of the French flag.
“Discovering new foods helps you understand people, learn more about yourself and appreciate other cultures,” insists Pépin. “I have traveled all over the world, enjoying chicken recipes from America to Russia, from Italy to Africa. In my travels, I have always marveled at the power of food to bring people together.
“These recipes are made to speak to your imagination, to the poet who lies dormant in you”, thinks Pépin. “This book aims to make you dream of succulent dishes, happy memories, and the generosity of sharing your table….”
Hints of all kinds are woven into the middle of the text. On the subject of eggs (because how could he present a book on chickens and not include eggs?), Pépin recommends: “High quality eggs from hens fed a good diet and allowed to beat, run and scratch freely are well worth the high prices. they order. I frankly admit that I am normally a little stingy in the kitchen. My modesty comes both from the fact that I was a child of the war years and that I grew up in a restaurant run by my mother, who was able to make good food with few ingredients.Organic products are wonderful, but I will buy conventional products if they are fresh and at only half or a third of the price. Likewise, except for special occasions, I tend to prefer wines that are young and under twenty dollars a bottle over expensive wines. Grand Cru. That being said, when possible, don’t economize when buying eggs. Buy the best quality organic eggs possible. »
“Cooking for someone is the purest expression of love, and sharing food with friends or strangers is a great equalizer,” says Pépin, embracing a reminder particularly relevant for this Thanksgiving week. .