The Apprentice

  • by Jacques Pepin
  • Narrated by Michel Chevalier
  • 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this captivating memoir, the man whom Julia Child has called "the best chef in America" tells the story of his rise from a frightened apprentice in an exacting Old World kitchen to an Emmy Award-winning superstar who taught millions of Americans how to cook and shaped the nation's tastes in the bargain. As a homesick 6-year-old boy in war-ravaged France, Jacques works on a farm in exchange for food, dodging bombs, and bearing witness as German soldiers capture his father, a fighter in the Resistance. Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's cafe, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef. When he comes to America, he falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child. The master of the American art of reinvention, Jacques goes on to earn a graduate degree from Columbia University, turn down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switch careers to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food.
The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. It is also the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.


Audible Editor Reviews

Why You Should Download This Audiobook: Of all the excellent memoirs from master chefs, from Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential to Bill Buford's Heat, this one scored high marks from critics and customers alike, but remains a sleeper hit. We're excited to recommend Jacques Pepin's account of his difficult childhood during World War II and his subsequent rise to multimedia stardom. It's truly a riveting history of one remarkable, insightful, and corageous man. We're confident you'll agree.


What the Critics Say

"Fast-moving and often touching....[A] charming memoir." (Publishers Weekly)
"As one of the world's most celebrated chefs, Jacques Pepin has much to share when it comes to great food. However, this memoir is every bit as delicious as one of his finest recipes. Free of any pretension, complaint, or histrionics, Pepin's story recalls difficult times in war-torn France, fighting invaders and poverty with equal determination. Michel Chevalier offers a perfect voice for Pepin's anecdotes and memories, using his musical French accent to add just the right flavor. Any reader who loves food and a good story will enjoy listening to this memoir." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


A lovely food memoir, well written and well read, but really not an unabridged reading. Whoever decided to omit the recipes at the end of each chapter and their description about how they pertain to the story was a fool and is truely cheating the listener of the whole book. This book will definitely make you hanker for a taste of classical French cooking. Anyone who reads about food is surely to be interested in the recipes. I would not have know about the recipes if I didn't own the book.
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- Linda Zimmerman

Delightful and Interesting

Jacque Pepin's story has many facets which he relates in an honest and unpretentious way. I came away with a great respect for the man and an enhanced view of cooking, especially in the selection of ingredients. One hears about choosing fresh and seasonal items, but Pepin tells what that means in very specific ways. Be advised that this book can make you very hungry.
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- snowy plover

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-08-2004
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company