The Untold Truth Of Gloria Pépin

Jacques Pépin may be a famous French chef, known for his old PBS shows and his groundbreaking cookbook La Technique. And it may even be true that Jacques' wife Gloria was a fine example of that old saying, "Behind every great man there is an exceptional woman," as chef and family fried Maria Sinskey said recently on Instagram. But Gloria Pépin, who died peacefully in her Connecticut home on December 5, was very much a force in her own right. A touching obituary posted to Jacques Pépin's Facebook page makes that clear. Gloria was a good cook herself, who influenced her world-famous husband's cuisine. And in the Pépin home at least, Jacques and Gloria did things her way.

Gloria Evelyn Augier Pépin was born June 19, 1937, in New York City. Her mother was from Puerto Rico, and her father was born in Cuba, which means her culinary influences were quite a bit different from those fo her French-born chef husband. Thanks to Gloria's influence, Jacques started cooking with rice, beans, chili peppers, and cilantro (via New York Lifestyles).

Gloria Pepin had a taste for the finer things but was no snob

"According to Gloria, there is always a 'right' way to do something," the obituary on Facebook said. "It was invariably, also, perfectly aligned with Gloria's way. As Jacques has said frequently, 'We always do things my way when we agree. But when we disagree, we do things her way.'"

Jacques and Gloria got married in 1966 and had their daughter Claudine, in 1967. They bought a home together in Madison, Connecticut in 1976 and renovated it themselves. It would turn out that Gloria would live there the rest of her life. Shortly after moving into town, Gloria and Jacques opened Gloria's French Cafe there. "She managed the front of the house with impeccable taste," the obituary said. Gloria also filled their homes with orchids she grew herself, and she generally had a taste for the finer things in life. She enjoyed champagne and caviar, and lobster and crab. This shouldn't give the impression that Gloria was a snob, though. She certainly wasn't above putting ice in her wine, and as Jacques mentioned at a recent charity event in Seattle, they never spent more than $14 a bottle for the wine they drank at home (via The Seattle Times).

Gloria Pepin went from the battlefield in Cuba to black-tie affairs

Gloria loved dogs and always had them in her life, even bringing home strays occasionally. Her puppy Gaston was among the close group of family and friends who were with Gloria when she passed. Gloria was an excellent skier and a member of the ski patrol in the 1960s, but she pretended to be a beginner and signed up for Jacques' ski lessons at Hunter Mountain in New York — just so she could meet the cute Frenchman.

Gloria's personality was bold, unapologetic, and unembarrassed. She was elegant and dignified, feeling sure of herself whether she was at a black-tie affair with Jacques or fighting in Castro's war in Cuba as a high school student from New Jersey. Her friends and family will miss her, but Gloria would not want them to linger long over grief. She would want them to live their lives and do their thing — and throw a boule-themed birthday party for her next year. Gloria started a boule league — a sport similar to Italian bocce and other forms of lawn bowling — where she revealed her competitive side. In all other things, Gloria and Jacques played together as a team. Gloria, of course, was team captain.