COOKING WITH CHEF PEPIN IN THE BON APPETIT CULINARY CENTER
You never know who may drop in to the culinary center!
We were all so excited to have Chef Jacques Pépin on the ship for our last cruise entitled Tastes of Europe. The ship was bursting with “foodies” and devotees of Chef Pepin. He and “Team Pépin” were quite visible throughout the cruise – giving Q&A's and cooking demonstrations and signing books. Jacques and his fabulous wife, Gloria, had a stateroom near the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, so it was fun seeing them wave hello as they passed by and often stopped in to greet guests.
One evening early in the cruise, after we had finished a class on French Bistro cooking, I looked up and saw Chef Pépin and his longtime colleague and friend, Jean-Claude, in their bathrobes heading in to the culinary center. Now this is not an unusual sight (as those of you alumni know), as we are located by the pool. People stop by all the time in their suits and flip flops to inquire "What's cooking today Chef Kelly?" But this was altogether different...rarely do we have the honor of the greatest living Chef in the world (my humble opinion – shared by millions...) stopping by in his BATHROBE !!!!!
Chef was conducting a techniques demonstration in a few days and wanted to test an omelet on the induction burners we use in the center (and on the Marina stage). So out came the pans and butter and eggs! What a moment it was watching Chef Pépin and his best friend of 50 years (they cooked for the President of France together!) make an omelet...
Somewhere along the way I thought to offer them a glass of wine – and thank goodness I had one of Chef Pépin's signature Provence Rosé wines in my refrigerator! Actually, I had three bottles on hand, so we all had a glass or two....
What I am reminded of every time I witness such talented and generous craftsmen is the gift they give us when we can watch them work. When I introduced Chef Pépin at one of his demonstrations, I reminded those attending of how humbled I am when you see someone with Chef Pépin's magnitude of talent who then is able to teach it to others. His hands are magnificent. What a treasure it is to be in his orb. We all had a great few weeks with Chef Pépin, but my fondest of many memories is of him making a simple omelet in the culinary center...NEVER A DULL MOMENT IN MY KITCHEN !!!!!