How Anthony Bourdain Really Felt About Jacques Pépin

Anthony Bourdain and Jacques Pépin became fast friends when they met more than 25 years ago, Pépin told KQED. The two world-renowned chefs continued learning and inspiring each other over the course of their quarter-century friendship. While Bourdain was far younger than Pépin, their respect was mutual and in a way, they both mentored each other.

Bourdain gushed in his introduction of Pépin in a 92nd Street Y interview, "Chef, educator, author, TV pioneer ... a Zelig-like figure in American gastronomy, and French gastronomy for that matter, cooked for three presidents, there at every major point in culinary history..." The two caught up in front of a crowd and chatted about Pépin's impressive career, as well as what truly constitutes being a chef. All the while, Bourdain grinned from ear to ear, joyous to be in Pépin's presence. Pépin is a role model for both aspiring cooks and professional culinary artists, and with good reason. 

Other chefs share Anthony Bourdain's admiration for Jacques Pépin

Other acclaimed chefs such as Tom Colicchio and Carla Hall appeared in the PBS documentary Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft to talk about the heavy influence and inspiration Jacques Pépin has had on their culinary careers. Bourdain couldn't agree more, saying, "Jacques was the first professional out there who was showing you, 'This is the way it's done, kids.' It's a beautiful thing to watch. I mean, beautiful."

Pépin is notorious for his cooking skills and ability to cook with ease. One of his cookbooks even bears the title Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques. Chefs are awestruck over how Pépin elevated his cooking as a craft. "If you cook professionally and you watch Jacques Pépin taking apart a chicken or cleaning a fish, there's a frisson of pleasure," Bourdain said.

Clearly, Pépin shares the same respect for the late Anthony Bourdain. After Bourdain's passing in 2018, Pépin spoke highly of him to WTNH: "He was amazingly unpretentious, even shy I would say. Certainly he has no patience with snob-ism, with fakery."