No one does it like French chef Jacques Pépin. And it’s no surprise that throughout his entire tenure as a culinary great, he remains one of the brightest food stars to ever exist, continuously finding a way to shine even brighter generation after generation. From being born in a small French village to winning a James Beard Award alongside his dear friend Julia Child, here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments and milestones of Pépin’s impressive culinary career.
1956: Serves in the French military, where he’s recognized for his culinary training, eventually becoming the personal chef to President Charles de Gaulle.
1966: Marries Gloria Evelyn Augier, who he met while working as a ski instructor when she booked a private lesson with him.
1970: Opens specialty soup restaurant La Potagerie in Manhattan. Earns his bachelor’s degree in general studies at Columbia, then two years later his master’s in French literature, also from Columbia.
1974: While driving, strikes a deer and is seriously hurt, fracturing multiple bones in his back, pelvis and arms. Because of these injuries, decides to shift his attention to writing, teaching and TV.
2016: Establishes the Jacques Pépin Foundation to provide free culinary training to people with barriers to employment such as homelessness or previous incarceration.
2023: Continues to write and film online cooking tutorials while also teaching at Boston University and the International Culinary Center as well as serving as executive culinary director of Oceania Cruises.