Jacques Pépin: Becoming a Chef

"You think you know it, you don't know it." The idea of cooking is to work in depth with the recipe, whether it is hot dogs or ceviche.

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[MUSIC] Without any question, if you want to learn, if you're a young chef, if you can afford it, you want to travel. And there is no place in the world like New York. 24,000 restaurants and food from anywhere you can think on the planet. But, you know, that being said, you can go to the market in France or in Italy or in Spain. You can go to Africa as I have been. Because the idea of cooking is not Of course it's to learn from others, to get inspiration, to get advice. But the idea for me more is to work in depth in the recipe. And I find that when I work with a young chef, he'll say, no no, I've done that ten times already. No, you don't know. You think you don't know it. You don't know it, you think you know it. And often, being the devil's advocate when I am at BU person. What are we going to do today chef? They're all excited. I say, okay, let's do a hot dog today, a lobster roll. And they look at me, say, is he crazy or? Note that the whole point. You will remember, I will remember having a hotdog at Star in San Francisco when Jeremy [INAUDIBLE] was the chef there. I say work, thicker, juicier, the salad, the bread was better Better roasted. They must start to eat, always aware of doing it better, and that's what you're going to impress. I say I've never had a hamburger like this. It doesn't have to be something complicated. That's working in depth, you know into the dish. That's how you get better, I think. Now working in New York, there with the freedom At the Pavillion certainly when I come there which we didn't have in front in term of cooking. But even more so for me after the Pavillion I went to Howard Johnson. That was another world of food. Which I had no idea what it was in terms of production. In terms of chemistry of food. You know in terms of Americans eating habit And eating stuff that I've never had before. So that definitely transformed the [UNKNOWN] for me and very important to expand my repertoire one side to the other and chef's have to do that you cannot encrust yourself in staying in the same place. You have to expand yourself, I expand myself by admiring Marrying a woman born in New York from a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father, so you know, you may think I am the quintessential French chef and you look at my book that shall prepare you, you open page 32 and you have a black bean soup with banana and cilantro on top. I mean, that's not very French. Next week you have a ceviche. Never had raw fish when I was in France. or a Southern fried chicken, American food. I think that I am probably more American chef now than French chef in that sense, but I have learned a lot from all of those places, which I would never have done if I'd stayed in France. [MUSIC]
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Jacques Pépin: Becoming a Chef