Jacques Pépin, celebrated host of award-winning cooking shows on national public television, master chef, food columnist, cooking teacher, and author of nineteen cookbooks, was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican. At age thirteen, he began his formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hotel de L'Europe in his hometown. He subsequently worked in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athénée. From 1956 to 1958, Mr. Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.

Moving to the United States in 1959, Chef Pépin worked first at New York's historic Le Pavilion restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that enabled him to learn about mass production, marketing, food chemistry, and American food tastes. He studied at Columbia University during this period, ultimately earning an M.A. degree in 18th-century French literature in 1972. Deciding then to devote much of his time to writing, he authored two groundbreaking step-by-step books on French culinary technique, La Téchnique (1976) and La Méthode (1979). These works, and others that followed, earned him a place in the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame in 1996, an honor bestowed each year on one author whose contributions to the literature of food have had a substantial and enduring impact on the American kitchen.

Mr. Pépin's most recent series, Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Encore with Claudine, was named Best National TV Cooking Show at the James Beard Awards in May 1999. Currently airing on PBS-TV stations throughout the United States, it is his sixth series produced by KQED in San Francisco and the second featuring his daughter, Claudine. The first twenty-six-show season of this series, entitled Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine, was a James Beard Award winner (Best National Cooking Segment) in 1997. His other public television series include the acclaimed Jacques Pépin's Cooking Techniques and three successful seasons of Today's Gourmet with Jacques Pépin, which received a Beard Award (Outstanding Culinary Video) in 1994.

Next on the horizon is a series entitled Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. Premiering on public television in the fall of 1999, it will have a companion cookbook.