Jacques Pepin is one of America's best-known chefs. He is the author of 24 books, including a best-selling memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen. He has also hosted nine public television cooking series, the most recent of which is called More Fast Food My Way. Pepin was born in rural France and his first exposure to cooking was in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. He began his formal apprenticeship at the age of thirteen and went on to work in Paris as the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. He moved to the United States in 1959 and studied at Columbia University. Pepin is a former columnist for The New York Times and now writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine. He received France's highest civilian honor, the French Legion of Honor, in 2004. He lives in Madison, Connecticut.
Question: What utensils do you always have on hand?
Jacques Pepin: Most important tool are your hands without any question. And then after you need a knife; you need a knife to board to shuck on; you need a _____, and that’s basically what you need. That being said of course, I have about 150 knives at my house; but you need basically three knives – a chopping knife; and then a utility knife, about seven inch; and a paring knife, you know? So . . . And preferably sharp one, too.
Recorded on: 09/04/2007