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KQED Airs Jacques Pépin Documentary

A look at the life of an enduring legend

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images

San Francisco’s KQED has given legendary chef Jacques Pépin the documentary treatment, an appropriate choice not just because of Pépin’s place in the culinary pantheon, but because most of his star-making PBS cooking shows were produced at KQED. American Masters—Jacques Pepin: The Art of Craft premieres on Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. It’s the first of a quartet of films called “Chef’s Flight” profiling Pépin, James Beard, Julia Child, and Alice Waters.

The Pépin documentary was directed by Peter Stein, who produced much of the chef’s work on PBS. It takes viewers from Pépin’s childhood in the French countryside to his stints cooking for heads of state like Charles de Gaulle and JFK to the televised career as a chef with which so many are familiar. It’s narrated by the endlessly talented Stanley Tucci and features interviews with José Andrés, Alice Waters, Anthony Bourdain, and many more.

“I Feel that if Jacques Pépin shows you how to make an omelet, the matter is pretty much settled,” Bourdain said of the chef. “That’s God talking.” In fact, you can hear Pépin speak on that very subject below. Allow him to explain the difference between a country omelet and a classic omelet, and consider the matter settled.