What makes a great dish?

Question: What makes a great dish?

Jacques Pepin: Well certainly what defines a great dish is your own taste to start with, and your own palate, and how discernable you are, and if you like that type of dishes, you know? Ingredient may be the most important part of a dish for me. Too much has been said about chef; not enough has been shared about farmer to grow the ingredient, because we are absolutely nothing without the farmer, you know? And he doesn’t get the credit for it. So if you have extraordinary ingredients, and if you don’t mess it up by doing too much with it or overcooking it and all that . . . if you are pretty calm about it, then you probably will have a great dish. I mean it can be just an extraordinary tomato at the right temperature with the best possible oil, best possible onion with it. And that’s what we look for. You know and very often, people think in terms of great dish in the context of complicated dish, when in fact I often discuss with a young chef and I say, “Okay. I will test you by doing a lobster roll, maybe a hamburger, maybe a hot dog, maybe a BLT. Any of those which are very, very modern and very simple. You can always have a bettera bread, a better mustard, a better piece of meat, a better way of cooking it. You can always work in depth rather than otherwise . . . and get something better. And you do . . . We have a place next to me in Connecticut where I go and have lobster roll – where I have a friend of mine, Jean Claude, who is my dearest friend and who was with me when I worked for the French President. So we’ve been cooking together 51 years. He’ll come and he’ll say, “Let’s go and have a lobster roll.” He’ll remember that lobster roll where the guy takes those Philadelphia flat roll that we started at Howard Johnson actually when I lived there, and brown them on each side properly, and add just plain lobster that he poached himself or steamed himself with butter on top, salt, pepper, and he put it, and that’s it; but it’s good quality. And you’ll remember it and you go back to it.

 

Recorded on: 09/04/2007

 

 

 

 

 

Great ingredients, minus the fuss.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less