Chef Jacques Pépin talks about his new book ‘Quick & Simple,’ how he’s keeping busy amid the pandemic

New Haven

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — The pandemic has many of us trying new recipes in the kitchen, but what has Connecticut’s most famous chef been doing?

When celebrity chef Jacques Pépin cooks at his home in Madison, his daughter often records it for a short Facebook video.

“I did 150, I think, of small four, five, six-minute recipes, showing people what to do with what you have left in your pantry or your refrigerator or freezer,” Pépin said.

Not wasting food is important to Pépin. He will slice off rotten bits of aging vegetables to make his famous “fridge soup.” It is easy recipes like that which make up Pépin’s latest book “Quick & Simple,” which sounds perfect for the pandemic.

“It was just coincidental because we started at least a year and a half ago,” said Pépin.

He said to simplify cooking, it’s okay to treat the store as your personal prep cook.

“So you can use the supermarket the same way,” Pépin said. “You have the boneless, skinless breast of chicken, you have pre-washed spinach, pre-sliced mushrooms.”

While the chef himself is cooking and writing his way through the pandemic, The Jacques Pépin Foundation is helping educate people with addictions and criminal records.

“To teach them the basics of cooking so they can re-integrate into the workforce and start opening a little restaurant or something like that,” said Pépin.

The restaurant business is also largely on pause, however. The man who has been cooking for more than 70 years thinks restaurants will best succeed by keeping things…simple.

“A restricted menu, simpler recipe, fresh, changing every day,” said Pépin.

Chef Pepin said he misses friends and socializing most of all, but at least the chef is still doing what he does best.

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