Tag Archive | "Jacques Pepin"

Two Local Chefs Are Finalists in Food-Wine Competition

The finalists for the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match have been announced, and two San Antonio chefs are among the top five.

They include Patrick James Edwards of Jason Dady’s Bin 555 at Artisans Alley, 555 Bitters Road, and Peter Smith of JW Marriott Hill Country Resort, 23808 Resort Parkway.

The other finalists  include Kelly Casey of Jeff Blank’s Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin, David Garrido of Garrido’s Restaurant in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg.

The finalists were chosen from a field of 27 entries. Each chef had to present a three-course meal featuring Texas products and paired with Texas wines. Among the judges were chef Monica Pope of Houston’s t’afia, Mary Martini of Central Market, Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly, and Bonnie Walker and John Griffin of SavorSA.

Judges for the finals will include celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh; François Dionot, founder of L’Academie de Cuisine; and Paula Lambert, founder of the Mozzarella Company.

The five finalists will prepare their tasting menu at a sit-down dinner set for 7 p.m. June 3 at the AT&T Executive Conference Center, 1900 University Ave., Austin. Tickets are priced at $100 apiece with proceeds benefiting the new nonproft Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts. The grand prize winner will be announced at the end of the evening. A People’s Choice Award will also be presented.

The event is being presented by Edible Austin and The Texas Food and Wine Gourmet.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

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Playing Catch-up on a Savory Memoir

PBS was not a mainstay in my home when I was growing up. Our reception was always scratchy, so unless the show was something special (“I, Claudius,” “Elizabeth R”), I didn’t watch it. As a result, I essentially missed the age of the great chefs on TV, including Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, separate and together. I don’t know if I would have watched them anyway, as I wasn’t interested in cooking as a child. Eating, yes. Cooking, no.

I was a little skeptical when a member of my book club chose Pépin’s “The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen” as our reading selection. This isn’t a foodie book group, though we did read Robb Walsh’s “Sex, Death & Oysters” last year, a choice that has had me hankering for those blessed little bivalves ever since. And I wasn’t familiar with his approach to food.

But once I cracked the spine, I was sorry for all I had missed. I couldn’t get enough of the book, which was originally released in 2003.

In the beginning, I savored most every sentence, slowly digesting the choice morsels Pépin served up of his early years. There were stories of extreme hardship because of the war, yet his mother managed to open a restaurant and make a go of it. There were stories of how hard it was to be separated from his family during the summers when children of his generation went off to work on farms. There were stories of working his way up through various kitchens until he became chef for Charles de Gaulle.

Some of the Gallic flavor in these pages was reminiscent of Ludwig Bemelmans’ charming memoirs, including “Hotel Bemelmans.” No matter the difficulty, Pépin seemed to move through each phase with a healthy attitude of accepting what life had to offer. He wasn’t happy about going into the military, for example, but he did, and he became a better chef for it.

Recipe: Les Oeufs Jeanette

I raced through the American half of the book, not because the anecdotes were any less interesting. There’s the story of how he had to chose between being chef for the Kennedys in the White House or working for Howard Johnson’s, and he opted for the latter. But this portion of the book fascinated me because I discovered that Pépin had lived for a number of years in the same county that I did in upstate New York, although not at the same time.

Greene County, just south of Albany, is home to two famous ski resorts, Hunter Mountain and Windham, and Pépin made great use of both during his residence there. I was more of an après-ski person myself and focused on warm toddies by a roaring fire, but I learned what he did: This corner of the world, lush and green in the summer, offered great produce, both wild and cultivated. If you know the area, you can just picture him and neighboring chefs, including Pierre Franey, cooking up some memorable dinners with what they could round up. A scene in which he buys rabbit is hilarious and shows the difference between the European and the American approach to food. (Though the restaurant scene in the county was meager, another famed chef, Thomas Keller of the French Laundry, got his big break there when he served as chef of a French restaurant called La Rive.)

By the time I finished the book, I didn’t want to let it go. So, I started making a couple of the recipes that Pépin features at the end of each chapter. they show his love of simple fare made with the best ingredients. The first was Les Oeufs Jeanette, a stuffed egg recipe that his mother developed and that has been a staple his entire life. I’ve made them twice now and will certainly serve them again.

“The Apprentice” made be seven years ago, which is a lifetime in the publishing business. Yet it has received some national attention in recent weeks when Saveur magazine included it on its annual 100 list. Here’s what reader Charlotte Belair of Vancouver, British Columbia had to say about the book:

[amazon-product]0618197370[/amazon-product]”At the public library where I used to work, a lot of books crossed my desk, but something about ‘The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen,’ a memoir by the French chef Jacques Pepin, immediately spoke to me. I took it home, and by the next day, I was telling my co-workers that I thought I might be in love. Whether describing his training in the great restaurants of France or his career in the United States as a chef, television personality, author and teacher, Pepin has an engaging, low-key way of talking about his many accomplishments. His warmth, honesty and joie de vivre always shine through. Each chapter is punctuated with recipes that vividly evoke the period he’s recalling: his mother’s apple tart, with its unfailingly light and tender crust; the braised striped bass he prepared at the New York City restaurant Le Pavillon; the chicken salad he learned to make from the actor Danny Kaye, whose poaching technique he admired. Along the way, Pepin provides the kind of ingenious cooking tips that viewers of his television programs have always treasured. But it’s the example of the man himself, his obvious passion and his dedication to his craft, that I found the most inspiring of all.”

His title, “The Apprentice,” says it all. After more than 70 years, Pépin is still learning, and it is an inspiration for the rest of us to keep at it, too.

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Give Your Stuffed Eggs a Warm Makeover

These are not like any deviled eggs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had them twice now, they are so good.

Here’s the backstory from chef Jacques Pépin, who included them in his memoir, “The Apprentice”: “When we were kids, eggs were a staple on our table. Meat or poultry showed up there once a week at the most, and more often than not, our ‘meat’ dinners consisted of a delicious ragout of potatoes or cabbage containing bits of salt pork or leftover roast. Eggs were always a welcome main dish, especially in a gratin with béchamel sauce and cheese, and we loved them in omelets with herbs and potatoes that Maman would serve hot or cold with a garlicky salad.

“Our favorite egg recipe, however, was my mother’s creation of stuffed eggs, which I baptized ‘eggs Jeannette.’ To this day, I have never seen a recipe similar to hers, and we still enjoy it often at our house. Serve with crusty bread as a first course or as a main course for lunch.”

Les Oeufs Jeannette (Eggs Jeannette)

6 jumbo eggs (preferably organic)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil

2 to 3 tablespoons leftover egg stuffing (from above)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon water
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Put the eggs in a small saucepan, and cover with boiling water. Bring to a very gentle boil, and let boil for 9 to 10 minutes. Drain off water and shake the eggs in the saucepan to crack the shells. (This will help in their removal later on.) Fill the saucepan with cold water and ice, and let the eggs cool for 15 minutes.

Shell the eggs under cold running water, and split them lengthwise. Remove the yolks carefully, put them in a bowl, and add the garlic, parsley, milk, salt and pepper. Crush with a fork to create a coarse paste. Spoon the mixture back into the hollows of the egg whites, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of the filling to use in the dressing.

[amazon-product]0618197370[/amazon-product]Heat the peanut oil in a nonstick skillet, and place the eggs stuffed side down, in the skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are beautifully browned on the stuffed side. Remove, drain and arrange, stuffed side up, on a platter.

For the dressing: Mix egg stuffing, olive oil, mustard, water, salt and pepper in a small bowl with a whisk or a spoon until well combined.

Coat the warm eggs with the dressing, and serve lukewarm.

Makes 4 servings.

From “The Apprentice” by Jacques Pépin

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