The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 318 pages
201 Reviews
In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Awardwinning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain.
We see young Jacques as a homesick six-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, working on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in the feudal system of France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef, watching the world being refashioned from the other side of the kitchen door.
When he comes to America, Jacques immediately falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child, whose adventures redefine American food. Through it all, Jacques proves himself to be a master of the American art of reinvention: earning a graduate degree from Columbia University, turning down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switching careers once again to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food. Included as well are approximately forty all-time favorite recipes created during the course of a career spanning nearly half a century, from his mother's utterly simple cheese soufflé to his wife's pork ribs and red beans.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. Beyond that, it is the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Great writing, a great story. - Goodreads
Nice life story, good recipes, I quite enjoyed it. - Goodreads
What a fascinating life, plus great recipes included! - Goodreads
Pepin has an easy often humorous storytelling ability. - Goodreads
Not a great writer, but a great life to read about. - Goodreads
Very entertaining, great recipes, and an amazing story. - Goodreads

Review: The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

User Review  - Cindy Dyson Eitelman - Goodreads

Not much of a plot (*biography*) but a really good air travel companion. Not so good the next day when I'd eaten too much dinner and was feeling vaguely nauseous--that made it hard to enjoy the ... Read full review

Review: The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen

User Review  - Maria - Goodreads

Great book by a great man! Read full review

About the author (2003)

Jacques Pépin is the author of twenty-one cookbooks, including the best-selling The Apprentice and the award-winning Jacques Pépin Celebrates and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home (with Julia Child). He has appeared regularly on PBS programs for more than a decade, hosting over three hundred cooking shows. A contributing editor for Food & Wine, he is the dean of special programs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Before coming to the United States, he served as personal chef to three French heads of state.

Bibliographic information