Still spry at 87 years old, Jacques Pepin, an avid pétanque player, artist, and cook, has added another title to his impressive resume – that of a generous benefactor raising awareness and money to fund restaurant workers who have had disadvantaged lives. His Foundation, The Jacques Pepin Foundation, supports free culinary and life skills training through the work of his non-profit foundation that supports free culinary and life skills training through community-based organizations that help detached individuals from the workforce to gain confidence and skills to re-enter the culinary workplace.
There has been a lot written about Chef Jacques Pepin, about his life in the culinary world, how he began at a very young age, his success teaming up with Julia Child, his years on television sharing recipes with his daughter, Claudine, and now his artwork and Foundation are at the core of his existence.
Like ageless Tony Bennett and so many luminaries that came before him, the art world has opened new horizons. Needless to say, Jacques still cooks, but that is a lower priority than his Foundation and his artwork.
As an upcoming recognized chef, he was heralded by becoming the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles DeGaulle. He has over 30 cookbooks, before his latest featuring his ‘Ode to the Chicken’ artwork paired with chicken recipes and memoirs.
Apparently, he admits he has had a lifelong love of chickens, both in recipes and art form. That love of chickens was the backbone that helped generate finances for his Foundation.
Daughter Claudine and husband Rollie Wesson masterminded the Jacques Pepin Foundation during the pre-Covid period. The generosity of Jacques Pepin ignited its growth by sharing proceeds from the sale of signed and unsigned chicken posters, the sale of his cooking videos, puzzles, and social fundraising events that begin in 2023.
The Foundation supports community kitchens nationwide for people with barriers to continuous employment. One of the many goals of the Foundation is to help develop skills and break down the barriers so that the participants can feel a sense of worth and a purpose for using their newly acquired skill set. The Foundation has donated more than a million in grants to support 150+ organizations they support.
The Jacques Pepin Foundation’s vision is ‘enriching lives and strengthening communities through the power of culinary education.’
Their mission is to promote Jacques’s generosity and passion for cooking by supporting individuals that seek organizations that create pathways to success through culinary professionalism, skills, and techniques.
Listen to the podcast here:
Thank you Philip Kampe for another great article. As a baby boomer and fan of Julia Child, I do remember Jacques Pepin. However did not realize he is also a great artist. His “Ode to the Chicken” series shows his unique eye for an animal is not the most majestic of the bird family, but Mr. Pepin introduces the audience with his keen eye for detail.
I love that after many years as a chef, his foundation is helping others in the culinary world. Now to find my favorite Jacques Pepin artwork!