The Truth About Gloria And Jacques Pépin's Marriage

Theirs was a meeting of hearts that we all aspire to. According to the memorial posted on Jacques Pépin's Facebook page, for 54 years Jacques and Gloria "made sure to sit at the table every night for dinner." They were even known to spontaneously dance after to either Sinatra or Aznavour, "as long as Jeopardy! was over." The Pépin's loving relationship was well documented. In 2015, close to their 50th anniversary, Jacques dedicated an entire show to his wife's favorite dishes. "After nearly half a century of marriage, when I cook for my wife, I know what she likes," he declared. Gloria also knew her way around the kitchen — it was, after all, her Puerto Rican and Cuban roots that shaped some of Jacques' cooking. Jacques' chicken and rice is a dish he'd often prepare at home for Gloria. "Sometimes I call it arroz con pollo," the world-renowned chef explained on his Facebook video. Watching him as he starts to prepare the dish with bacon, jalapeño, chicken, onion, and garlic, you know that Gloria had good taste.

Pépin's social media page is peppered with love letters to his wife. "Her smile in the morning makes my whole day," he wrote on her birthday. In another post, Jacques took a picture of a vibrant bouquet of purple flowers "I picked these for Gloria from our garden today. I am happy to do something to make her happy," he captioned the photo.

The sweet way Gloria and Jacques decided to get married

You may know how they met already, that Gloria and Jacques Pépin first flirted on a ski slope, and that Gloria thought she might not be quite his type at the time. "He had long sideburns and I wasn't sure whether he was straight or gay because he was so good-looking, but I said I'll give it a shot," Gloria once remembered (via PBS). From the time they became a couple, their life was filled with food. "When we weren't on the slopes, we spent our time together either cooking or getting ready to cook: hunting for game in the winter; fishing, picking wild mushrooms and gathering wild cress in the summer," Jacques recalled in The New York Times. "It was a new world for Gloria."

Their courtship didn't last long. In fact, they decided to tie the knot the summer after they met. "I took her to [American restaurant critic] Craig Claiborne's home in East Hampton, L.I., and we danced in the dining room while consuming a bottle of Champagne," Jacques wrote in The Times, "That evening, it was decided that Gloria and I should get married right there." Needless to say, when they did get married, they continued to eat good food. Later, The New England Historical Society, described their weekend home near Hunter Mountain, as a "colony of expatriate French chefs."

Gloria and Jacques Pépin opened two restaurants together

In 1970, the Pépins opened La Potagerie, a small soup restaurant on 5th Avenue in New York City. "Through it all, Gloria was [Jacques'] partner, his strength, his rock," says the memorial on Jacques' Facebook page. Of course it was a success: "Who would have thought that an olio of Scotch broth, vegetable soup and Manhattan clam chowder could pack in crowds like this?" wrote The New York Times in a 1971 review. The paper fawned over the restaurant's design, and especially its "enameled tile walls and bright red molded trays and modern art objects on the walls, the trendy tables inspired by butcher blocks."

Design and organization was Gloria's game. When the couple opened Gloria's French Café in Madison, Connecticut, it was Gloria's turn to be at the helm. According to Pépin's Facebook memorial, "She managed the front of the house with impeccable taste. Like everything in Gloria's life, the restaurant was extraordinarily well-organized." Yet it was not all work in their relationship, Jacques and Gloria Pépin also knew the value of rest. They spent their winters in the sun: first in their house in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and then on Amelia Island in Florida. Gloria spent her the end of her days at their home in Connecticut, with Jacques, friends, family, and her beloved dog by her side.