Jacques Pepin

French chef.


Pépin, the second of three sons, was born in 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon in France. After World War II, his parents, Jeannette and Jean-Victor Pépin, owned the restaurant, Le Pélican, where Pépin worked and later became known for his love for food. He went on to work in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, during his military service, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. In 1959 Pépin came to the United States to work at the restaurantLe Pavillon. Eight months later, in 1961, Howard Johnson, a regular Le Pavillon customer, hired Pépin to work alongside fellow Frenchman Pierre Franey to develop food lines for his chain of Howard Johnson's restaurants, while Pépin was attending Columbia University. Pépin received his B.A. degree from Columbia’s School of General Studies in 1970 and went on to earn a master’s degree in French literature at Columbia in 1972.

Personal Life

Pepin married his wife, Gloria, in 1966, and they live in Madison, Connecticut. He has one daughter, Claudine, and one grandchild. He also been awarded the French government's highest honor and holds the title of Chevalier de L'Ordre National de la Legion D'Honneur, or "Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor."