The great paradox of the holiday season for me has always been the way joy and stress walk hand in hand as we traverse the short days of November and December. In our never ending quest to find "joy", our intrepid producer Cindy Papish Gerber suggested we reach out to legendary chef Jacques Pépin to see if he might join us for a conversation about the decidedly joyful subject of "holiday cooking". Not only did Jacques say yes - he graciously invited us to record in his kitchen!
Joining us for what turned out to be an absolutely delightful afternoon were my good friend Rob Oliver (who is perhaps the biggest Jacques fan in the continental United States), and Jacques' friends Gloria ("Zimmy") Zimmerman, Claude Martin and Lee White.
From Wikipedia: "Jacques Pépin is an internationally recognized French chef, television personality, and author working in the United States. At the end of the 1980s and the start of the 1990s, he appeared on French and American television and wrote an array of cookbooks that became best sellers.
From 1956 to 1958, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. In 1959 Pépin came to the United States to work at the restaurant Le Pavillon. Pépin has starred in numerous television shows. Pépin co-starred in the 1999 PBS series Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home with Julia Child. The program was awarded a Daytime Emmy in 2001.
Pépin serves as Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute, part of the International Culinary Center, in New York City. He is also an active contributor to the Gastronomy department at Boston University, where he teaches an online class on the cuisine and culture of France along with professor Kyri Claflin of Boston University's history department. Pépin also writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine and offers an amateur class each semester based on varied culinary topics.
Pépin currently resides with his wife, Gloria, in Madison, Connecticut."
Rob Oliver is a New Haven native, married to a New Haven native, father of 2, who works for an investment bank.
Rob "…love[s] my hometown, cooking, mountains (hiking climbing skiing), history, travel, hockey and the Red Sox. My wife and I have never been to a movie together. We love entertaining, cooking and spending time with family and friends. People I’d like to have over for dinner: Ben Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant, Smoky Joe Wood."
Gloria Zimmerman’s distinguished culinary career is rooted in her extensive knowledge of global cuisine. She has taught Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian and French cooking at schools, department stores, gourmet shops –and most notably, for passengers on the Cunard Cruise line; including the Queen Elizabeth 2.
“Zimmy” has assisted Jacques Pépin in cooking demonstrations, and coordinated his backstage kitchen for his first TV series, “Everyday Cooking with Jacques Pepin.” In her own words, “I was personal chef to the personal chef to three French Presidents!”
Her editorial work includes Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry , Alain Ducasse’s Flavors of France, The Encyclopedia of Chinese Cooking, The Encyclopedia of Asian Cooking, The Bon Appetite International Pocket Food Guide, and chapters on Asian cooking for the Time-Life cookbook series. She co-authored The Classic Cuisine of Vietnam (Barron’s), which was runner-up in The Tastemaker Award Competition for Cookbook Excellence. She has also directed the test kitchen for Cusinart, Inc.
A frequent world traveler, she has conducted numerous gastronomic tours to regions of France and Italy. Presently, Zimmy continues to cook, invent recipes, and entertain guests in her Guilford, CT home.
Lee White is a resident of Old Lyme in a section of town where she and her house are the oldest members. She has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.
She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for the Times and Shore Publishing newspapers, and Elan, a quarterly magazine, all of which are now owned by The Day.
We talked about some of our favorite holiday traditions and meals - and I'd like to invite you to share yours in the comments!