Is Jacques Pépin French? Is José Andres Spanish?

Jacques Pépin, José Andres, Dorothy Hamilton

I had a wonderful lunch at ICC last week. Yes, the food at L’Ecole was delicious (especially the pork belly appetizer) but it was the company that made it really special. Two Deans were in the house, Jacques Pépin and José Andres. Jacques was getting ready to do his egg demo for our students with 60 plus egg preparations and José was checking in on his new curriculum and course at the school, Spanish Culinary Arts, which will debut in February.

We talked about perceptions of Jacques and José as teachers. Does one study with Jacques to learn French cuisine or with José for Spanish cuisine? They joked that they were both held hostage by their accents and that their culinary styles are hugely influenced by their native lands. Both fiercely love their national cuisines. Yet both masters had to admit their styles are very much their own, reflecting their own unique personalities, tastes and skills. Pepin is the Zen guru of technique and José is one of the leading practicioners of avante garde cuisine in the world.

Jacques Pépin- Roast Capon with Armagnac-Mushroom Sauce

José Andres Liquid Olives

So, if you study with one of these super-chefs, do you study their native cuisine, or their personal style? Both vehemently insisted that you can’t understand their style without a basic knowledge of their native techniques and taste notes first. More importantly, you can’t even approach either man’s greatness without studying the fundamentals. Thus, for close to 30 years classic culinary arts has been the student’s entree for Jacques. And now our new Spanish course is the welcoming smile of José.

Joining the Spanish Culinary Arts program will not only give you an insight to the culture, history and taste of the native cuisine of Spain but will form the foundation to learn and realize José’s avant garde cuisine. As José explains, you have to understand the tomato seed, you need to taste it in its pure glory, you need to know how to handle it on the most basic and traditional levels and then, and only then, can you aspire and expand to Minibar pyrotechnics! Don’t miss out on José’s course this February. It is only 10 weeks and he is personally shepherding the class to Spain for a packed week of tradition and contemporary culinary adventure.

Tags: , ,