|Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way: Biographies|
THE PERSONALITIES BEHIND JACQUES PÉPIN: FAST FOOD MY WAY
JACQUES PÉPIN, HOST
Jacques Pépin is world renowned as the host of his acclaimed and popular cooking programs on public television, and as a prolific author, respected instructor, and gifted artist. Recently, Pépin was awarded the highest honor by the French Government and holds the title of CHEVALIER DE L'ORDRE NATIONAL DE LA LEGION D'HONNEUR. Pépin is currently hosting public television series, Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way. Featuring recipes for fast, healthy meals, this is the tenth series hosted by Pépin and produced by KQED-TV in San Francisco, and is being broadcast over public television stations nationwide. The companion cookbook to the series, also called Jacques Pépin: Fast Food My Way (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA) will be published this fall. His memoir, The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen, was published last spring (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) and in paperback this past May, 2004. He is also a proud new grandfather of his daughter Claudine's first child, Shorey.
Pépin 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, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
Moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin worked first at New York's historic Le Pavillon restaurant, then served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that taught him 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. In 1997, on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the School of General Studies at Columbia, Pépin was honored with four other distinguished alumni of the School, each representing a different decade in its history.
Pépin shared the spotlight with Julia Child in an earlier PBS-TV series that still is shown occasionally on public television stations. This twenty-two show series, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, was the winner of The James Beard Foundation's Award for Best National Cooking Show -- 2001, and the duo received a 2001 Daytime Emmy Award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. There is a companion cookbook to the series he did with Child and also to two earlier public television series he co-hosted with his daughter, Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Encore with Claudine (1998) and Jacques Pépin's Kitchen: Cooking with Claudine (1998).
A former columnist for The New York Times, Pépin writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine. He also participates regularly in that magazine's prestigious Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and at other culinary festivals and fund-raising events worldwide. In addition, he is a popular guest on such commercial TV programs as The Late Show with David Letterman, The Today Show, and Good Morning America.
Pépin is the recipient of three of the French government's highest honors: he is a Chevalier de L'Ordre National de la Legion d' Honneur, Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1997) and a Chevalier de L'Ordre du Mérite Agricole (1992). The Dean of Special Programs at The French Culinary Institute (New York), he also is an adjunct faculty member at Boston University. He is a founder of The American Institute of Wine and Food, a member of the International Association of Cooking Professionals, and is on the board of trustees of James Beard Foundation. He and his wife, Gloria, live in Madison, Connecticut.
SUSIE HELLER, SERIES PRODUCER
Susie Heller has been involved in the food world for over 25 years. Beginning as a caterer, restaurant owner, consultant, and food critic she turned her attention to media after meeting Jacques Pépin in 1985. After co-producing and hosting two local television series, she focused on national productions. Following her work on the first two series of Jacques' Today's Gourmet, she worked as Culinary Producer with Julia Child on three public television series, including Julia and Jacques, Cooking at Home, two Cooking in Concert specials with Julia and Jacques and The Apprentice. Other public television shows include three series with Michael Chiarello and Cooking In with Todd English. Susie served as producer and author of several cookbooks including the French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller and his upcoming Bouchon Cookbook. In 2002, she and a partner created Full Plate Media, a company producing programming for television and the web.
BRUCE FRANCHINI, DIRECTOR
Bruce Franchini's work has encompassed a wide variety of programming from cooking to documentaries, drama, music, and dance including Great Performances, Audrey Hepburn's Gardens of the World and Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds. He has produced and directed for PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC-TV and Disney Channel as well as for independent production companies and corporate clients. On public television he has directed Jacques on Julia Child & Jacques Pépin: Cooking at Home and Jacques Pépin's Techniques as well as on their two Cooking in Concert specials. He directed Julia on her three other public television shows, as well as directing Lidia Bastianich, Michael Chiarello, Lorenza DeMedici and Joanne Weir.
JEAN-CLAUDE SZURDAK, CHEF AND KITCHEN MANAGER
Jean-Claude Szurdak has spent over 50 years in the kitchen. Between 1956 and 1958, he worked together with his best friend Jacques Pépin for three French heads of state, a position Szurdak had prepared for at the Michelin-starred Ponchartrain and Drouant. In 1960, he came to New York and served as chef at La Toque Blanche. Later, he was proprietor of Elysees Pastry and Moccha Pastry. Szurdak also ran the exclusive Jean-Claude catering company for 20 years in New York City. He presently works independently with Jacques on cooking-related projects including the Food and Wine Classic, the James Beard House and other culinary events. Jean-Claude served as chef and manager of the back kitchen on Fast Food My Way and appeared as a guest on 2 of the episodes.
DAVID SHALLECK, CULINARY PRODUCER
Originally from New York City, now residing in San Francisco, David started his career in television as an associate lighting director then pursued his culinary interests in the restaurant business. Over the course of two decades, David has worked alongside many of the finest chefs in America, including Larry Forgione (An American Place), Bradley Ogden (Campton Place), Mark Franz (Stars), Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), and Michael Chiarello (Bistecca Italian Steakhouse). Five years abroad in Italy and France included working at restaurants, wineries, and yachts. David also served as culinary director at NapaStyle in the Napa Valley. That position included the role of culinary producer for television programming with PBS, Fine Living, Food Network, CBS, HGTV, Home Shopping Network and the Weather Channel. He is a member of the chef's council at the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco. Presently, David freelances in recipe and product development, food styling and consults for various restaurant projects.
ELIZABETH PEPIN, ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Elizabeth Pepin currently works as an associate producer and research and development associate at KQED. Pepin has more than six years of production experience in the Bay Area and has won four regional Emmy Awards for her documentary film work. Her numerous projects for KQED and PBS include: American Family Portraits, American Experience: The Year 1900, Bay Window: Hope on the Street, and The Fillmore: The Hidden Cities of San Francisco. In addition to being a filmmaker, Pepin is a photographer and a journalist. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University.
AMY VOGLER, ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCER
After a nine year career in editing television commercials, Amy changed her focus to the professional kitchen, taking a position in the pastry department at The Lark Creek Inn. Shortly thereafter, she combined her two talents and turned to production, assisting Mary Barber, Sara Whiteford, Cat Cora, David Shalleck, and Michael Chiarello, in the production of cookbooks. Most recently, Amy has assisted Thomas Keller and Jeffrey Cerciello in the upcoming Bouchon Cookbook. She continues her work as a freelancer in both production and recipe development for chefs and corporations.
DANNY MCGUIRE, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Writing, directing, producing, and executive producing film and video productions for nearly 30 years for both commercial and public television stations and as an independent filmmaker, Danny McGuire holds principal content credit on more than 200 original television programs or series and more than 50 non-broadcast video and films. Among his nearly 60 industry honors are various Gold Medals, Regional and national Prime-time Emmys, Golden Eagles, a Peabody, a DuPont/Columbia award, and an Oscar nomination. Most notable among his national credits are the documentary specials, Cadillac Desert, Fear and Favor in the Newsroom, and The West Virginia Mine Wars; performance programs Blue Suede Shoes, Sweeney Todd in Concert, The Merry Widow, and Othello. McGuire has also overseen the productions Jacques Pépin Celebrates, Jacques Pépin: The Apprentice, and Weir Cooking in the City.