5 Questions with Jacques Pépin

5 questions with Jacques Pépin

In Author Conversations by Katie Winters

5 Questions with Jacques Pépin

We love any opportunity to get to know our favorite authors better. So a lightning round of questions sounds like a good place to start. Here, we ask five quick questions (with one wildcard) about books, genres, reading preferences, writing style, and their secret to success. 

You know Jacques Pépin as the avuncular French chef who brought gourmet cooking techniques into home kitchens across America. Maybe you watched his long-standing friendship with Julia Child bloom on their revered PBS cooking show. But did you know he was Charles DeGaulle’s personal chef when DeGaulle was the president of France? Or that he turned down the chance to cook for John F. Kennedy and instead opted to hone his chops for another iconic American symbol, the Howard Johnson family restaurant and hotel chain?

Pépin’s newest book reveals another surprise: He’s a talented painter. And he loves to paint chickens! In Jacques Pépin Art of the Chicken, Pépin invites listeners to join him in celebrating the humble bird by way of his delicious recipes and gorgeous artwork. (For more surprising revelations from famous chefs, our Celebrity Chefs on Life and Food list is worth a look.)

This Thanksgiving, we’re grateful Pépin — the celebrated chef and painter — shares his favorite books, the reading genre he considers his guilty pleasure, and who he’d most like to share a bottle of wine (not coffee or tea) with.

1. What are your all-time favorite books?

Jacques Pépin: The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez.

2. What’s your favorite genre to read?

Jacques Pépin: “Trashy” murder mysteries — I can’t always be reading Camus and Márquez.

Editor’s Note: “Trashy,” “guilty pleasure,” whatever you want to call your favorite genre, it’s all worthwhile to us. Check out our editors’ favorite mysteries, as well as some thrillers exclusively from Scribd Publishing.

3. Which do you prefer: ebook or audiobook?

Jacques Pépin: Nothing beats holding a real book, but I prefer audio between those two choices.

Editor’s Note: It’s no wonder Pépin prefers audiobooks. He’s very on trend. Audiobook popularity is on the rise, and listening is the perfect way to make a dent in your TBR pile while keeping your hands free to whip up one of Jacques’ favorite chicken and egg recipes. Still not convinced audiobooks are for you? Try these tips for embracing the audiobook life, whether you’re preparing a feast or going for a walk.

4. What’s your writing routine or process? 

Jacques Pépin: I don’t have an exact process. When I need to, I sit down and do the best I can!

Editor’s Note: Finding your flow and unlocking your creativity can be challenging for all of us. If, like Pépin, you don’t have an exact process, but want to create one to help meet your writing (or painting) goals, then check out these tips to cultivating a creative process. Facing writer’s block? Bust through it with these eight tips to build a writing routine.

5. How much of your writing success is due to hard work, talent, or luck?

Jacques Pépin: About 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, I think.

Editor’s Note: Other than maybe nailing up a horseshoe or searching for a four-leaf clover, good luck’s not something we can control. We can, however, control our work ethic and its impact on developing our strengths. Unlock your potential with help from books on cultivating a growth mindset and using the power of habit to supercharge your growth trajectory.

Wildcard: If you could have coffee/tea with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Jacques Pépin: It would have to be with family members I miss that are no longer with me. But it would be wine instead of coffee or tea.


About the Author: Katie Winters

Katie is an Everand editor who digs weird westerns and hidden histories and never says no to noir. She loves putting her librarian training to work connecting readers with good books. And dancing to Dolly Parton.