The Apprentice

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 (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), 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. —_Charlotte Belair, Vancouver, British Columbia _

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