Jacques Pépin vs. Gordon Ramsay? Not Really

The esteemed French chef takes to Facebook to explain his position further about "reality" TV cooking shows

Jacques Pépin/PR Newswire
Pépin took issue with the way that kitchens are depicted on programs like Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares."

On July 14, we published a piece by famed chef, cookbook author, and television personality Jacques Pépin, a member of The Daily Meal Council, taking issue with aspects of the so-called reality cooking shows that are now so popular on TV. Pépin didn't mention "shouty chef" (as another website calls him) Gordon Ramsay by name, but did cite his show Hell's Kitchen for its "cruel rivalry and conflict" — and Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times headlined his article on Pépin's piece "That's reality: Jacques Pépin gives Gordon Ramsay a whipping." Numerous other websites and publications have picked up the theme, positioning our piece as an attack on Ramsay.

At noon today, Pépin posted a further elucidation of his points about TV food shows on his Facebook page.

"Many of you may have seen my article in The Daily Meal," he wrote. "It was certainly not my intention to insult Gordon Ramsay, who in my opinion is a very good, professionally trained chef, or anyone else for that matter. And I understand well the demands that television has put on him and others like him to create excitement.

"For me, the point is that the world of the truly professional chef is a controlled, disciplined, and respectful environment. Aspiring young chefs who consider entering the culinary trade get a false impression from these programs which are for entertainment. The only real reason to become a chef is because it fulfills you, and makes you happy to please people through your food. If you are dedicated and work hard with integrity and commitment, and if a little luck is on your side, it may happen that you gain some notoriety for your efforts. However, much more likely is that you won’t. But, if you enter the trade for the right reasons, you will still have a happy and fulfilling life. —JP"

As usual, Pépin shows himself to be a gentleman — which cannot necessarily be said of, well, every chef who's out there.


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Pound for pound, Jacques Pepin is the Master of the trade, period. His lessons via the T.V. have been inspiring young people to become chefs or at least get into the hospitality business. He is a true 'Chef". Many of those others on T.V. are just propped up flashes in the pan. Not to mention names, but I would say that 80%-90% of the so-called chefs on T.V. haven't a clue as to how to cook. It is all choreographed. The recipes and foof is all compiled by a bunch of 'behind the scenes' people, who probably know more of the craft than the people you see on T.V. I've seen some shows. I sit there shaking my head, because when the recipe they show you on T.V. doesn't come out, what to do? Of course, buy their BOOK!!! Don't be taken in by these flash in the pan wanna-be-cooks. Thank you Chef Pepin for your years of inspiration!!!

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