Born in 1935 in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, near Lyon, Pépin always found the kitchen to be a place of both comfort and excitement. He helped in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pélican, and, at age 13, began an apprenticeship at the Grand Hôtel de L’Europe. He subsequently worked in Paris, ultimately serving as personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle.
After moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin first worked at Le Pavillon, an historic French restaurant in New York City. From 1960 to 1970, he was director of research and new development for Howard Johnson’s and developed recipes for the restaurant chain. At the same time, he earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Columbia University.
Author of 29 books, he published his first cookbook, The Other Half of the Egg with Helen McCully in 1967, the same year that his only daughter, Claudine was born. Pépin released his seminal text La Technique in 1976, and his autobiography The Apprentice in 2003.
Pépin is a former columnist for The New York Times and his articles have appeared in countless food magazines, especially Food & Wine magazine. He is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from five American universities, was awarded France’s highest civilian honor, La Légion d’Honneur, in 2004, as well as the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1997 and the Mérite Agricole in 1992. He has received 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
In 2015, Pépin received the American Public Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award in November and the inaugural Julia Child Award, which was presented to him at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History on October 22. A longtime close friend of Julia Child, he starred with her in a PBS series called Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, which won both an Emmy Award and a James Beard Foundation Award in 2001. He also released his latest cookbook and 13th companion PBS-TV series, Jacques Pépin: Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. The book was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; the 26-show public television series was produced by KQED-TV in San Francisco, CA.
For the past 30 years, Pépin has taught in the Culinary Arts Program at Boston University and, since 1989, he has served as dean of special programs at the International Culinary Center in New York City. He and his wife, Gloria, have called Connecticut home since 1975.
Claudine Pépin is the Co-Founder & CEO of the Jacques Pépin Foundation. She has prepared meals and shared cooking techniques on the James Beard Award Winning “Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Cooking With Claudine” and “Jacques Pepin’s Kitchen: Encore With Claudine.”
Claudine was named “Woman of the Year” by the Academie Culinaire de France – Filiale des Etas Unis and has appeared on numerous television shows including “Cooking Live with Sara Moulton,” “Good Morning America,” “Molto-Mario," and the newest series, “Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in The Kitchen."
Her first book, Let’s Cook French, is a collection of thirty favorite, simple, classic French recipes in both English and French, illustrated by her father Jacques and daughter Shorey.
In addition to being the Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer of the Jacques Pépin Foundation, Chef Rollie Wesen is also an Assistant Professor in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, a resident lecturer at Boston University and the Community Kitchen, RI Food Bank.
After 20 years of professional cooking experience, Rollie joined the faculty at Johnson & Wales University where he has since earned a master’s degree in education and is currently working toward his doctorate in Educational Leadership, as well as his Executive Chef Certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
Chef Wesen is passionate about food and teaching. In the classroom, he strives not only to inspire excellent culinary technique, but strong personal and professional character development.
A protégée of Julia Child, Sara was the co-founder of the New York Wom-en’s Culinary Alliance, executive chef of Gourmet magazine, Food Editor of ABC-TV’s ”Good Morning America,” and the host of several well-loved shows on the Food Network during that channel’s first decade.
Sara is the author of several cookbooks including her latest book, Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101: How To Make Everything Taste Better. She appears weekly on Chris Kimball’s Milk Street Radio and is also the author of the Associated Press column “Kitchen Wise” and the monthly Washington Post column, “Sunday Suppers.”
A teacher at heart, Sara’s mission has remained the same for decades — to help the home cook land a tasty dinner on the table every night.
Chef Matthew MacCartney, a New York City chef with world-class restaurant credentials came to Jamestown, RI in 2012 to partner in opening the extraordinary Jamestown FiSH restaurant. The award-winning MacCartney has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York City and in Europe. He studied at the New York City Technical College and apprenticed at a vast number of noted restaurants in Italy and France. He also holds a diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a chef instructor for Newport Cooks. FiSH specializes in fine dining in a casual atmosphere and the European-inspired cuisine features fresh seafood and produce paired with wines from some of the world’s finest vineyards.
Affectionately known as the “Godfather of Sustainability,” Chef Rick Moonen has devoted his career to being the country’s top culinary advocate for sustainable seafood, gaining him numerous awards for his tireless efforts.
Chef Moonen served as executive chef of many critically acclaimed New York restaurants, and opened two restaurants earning three out of three stars from the New York Times by 2005.
In February 2005, he opened his multi-level restaurant Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay. His cookbook Fish Without a Doubt, is a practical, hands-on guide to buying, preparing and cooking a wide array of fish.
Moonen has been featured in Food & Wine, SAVEUR, Bon Appetit, Food Arts, USA Today, Travel + Leisure, and seen on Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, Beat Bobby Flay, TODAY, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Dan Rather Reports, and CNN. Most recently in 2016, Chef Rick was a James Beard Foundation Award nominee for Best Chef: West and has launched his highly anticipated signature knife line, BLADES by Rick Moonen.
Champe Speidel, chef-owner of Persimmon in Providence, RI is a six-time semifinalist for a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Northeast. Chef Speidel takes an ingredient and technique-driven approach to modern American cuisine. After a successful eleven-year run in Bristol, RI, Speidel and his wife, Lisa, relocated to Providence and reimagined their concept to open the “new Persimmon” in May 2016. The restaurant has been featured in Food & Wine, The Washington Post, Food Arts, Art Culinaire, Yankee Magazine, and The Boston Globe.
A graduate of the four-year culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales University, Speidel received the honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts from his alma mater in 2016. Speidel also owns and operates Persimmon Provisions in Barrington, RI. His model is the quintessential neighborhood butcher shop updated with a modern aesthetic and culinary sensibility.
Ming's passion for food was forged in his early years working in his family's restaurant. After spending a summer studying at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, he went on to train under such greats as renowned pastry chef Pierre Hermé and sushi master Kobayashi, and receive a master's degree in hotel administration and hospitality marketing from Cornell. Bringing his dream to reality in 1998, Ming and his wife Polly opened the doors to the highly acclaimed Blue Ginger, a bistro-style restaurant dedicated to East-West cuisine in the Boston suburb of Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Ming began cooking for television audiences on the Food Network, where he was the 1998 Emmy-winning host of East Meets West, Cooking with Ming Tsai and Ming's Quest. In addition to television, Ming is also the author of three cookbooks, including Blue Ginger: East Meets West Cooking with Ming Tsai, Simply Ming, and Ming's Master Recipes. Ming was also honored by Esquire Magazine as "Chef of the Year 1998," and The James Beard Foundation crowned him as the "2002 Best Chef in the Northeast."
Born and raised on a farm just outside of Greensboro, North Carolina, Chef James Wayman has spent a lifetime of sourcing and eating with the seasons.
Chef James graduated from Johnson & Wales, where he first got a taste of New England coastal cuisine. He then went on to help open and cook at Water Street Café in Connecticut and then spent seven years as Executive Chef of The River Tavern. He is now the Executive Chef at Mystic Oyster Club, in Mystic, CT.
James’ cooking is anchored in farm inspired coastal food, but is influenced heavily by his passion for different cultures, with a focus on “comfort food.” He also has a gift and love for charcuterie and believes in a philosophy of “tail to snout” cooking, which requires a deep knowledge of animal butchering and being able to utilize the entire animal.
James recently won "Chef of the Year 2016" by the Connecticut Restaurant Association, and in November 2016, had the great honor of cooking a dinner at the esteemed James Beard House.
Schick began her culinary career at Johnson & Wales University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in pastry and baking. During her time in college, she studied abroad in Switzerland, completing the pastry and chocolate program under Urs Frey, and gained further experience during an internship at Wentworth Golf and Country Club in Virginia Water, Surrey, England.
After graduating in 2007, Schick worked at several bakeries and hotels in New England before moving to Chicago to work under Chef Gale Gand at Tru. During her time at Tru, she learned to celebrate seasonal ingredients and employ perfect technique. In 2009, Schick joined the pastry team at No. 9 Park, where her passion, skill, and hard work earned her the title of Pastry Chef in 2010. In 2012, she was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Pastry Chef award and counts overhauling No. 9 Park’s bread program as well as developing and executing Sugar Rush 2013, a showcase of local pastry chefs, among her recent achievements.
In 2013, Schick joined the team at Deuxave as Exectuve Pastry Chef, Schick bringing a unique approach to pastry that emphasized balance through contrasting flavors and textures.
After a Bachelors in Fine Arts in New York and an AS in Baking & Pastry from JWU Providence I started my industry career in Lucerne, Switzerland, at the 3rd generation Swiss confectionery company Confiserie Bachmann. I next accepted a position in fine dining at the Ritz-Carlton (Naples, Fla.) and relocated 2000 miles to Florida making desserts for the property’s 5- and 4-diamond outlets. After working in all Pastry aspect at the illustrious SWFL Resort I then had the honor of accepting a position in chocolate with world-renowned chocolatier and pastry chef Norman Love. In the subsequent years, I designed and manufactured lines of chocolates for such companies as Disney, Wegmans, Godiva, Fannie May, Marriott & Ritz-Carlton hotels and Whole Foods. During this time I competed nationally and received many industry awards and recognition, including Dessert Professional’s Top 10 Pastry Chefs in the US, Pastry Live Showpiece winner, Paris Gourmet Pastry Chef of the Year and “40 Under 40” by Gulfshore Life. I also returned to JWU as a Distinguished Visiting Chef (DVC) to present to the faculty and students. Branching out from the back of the house I also began designing packaging and retail elements for the company including FDA compliant labeling earning an International Packaging design award in 2015 for LOVE ORIGINS an environmentally and socially responsible line of chocolates. After 15 years of work with Norman Love Confections I joined JWU Providence as a Pastry instructor with the desire to inspire and guide our next generation of Pastry Chefs and raise the bar of the Industry with my new amazing Colleagues and Chefs.
Inspired both by her mother's sublime Vietnamese cooking skills and the lack of desserts in Asian households, Thao began baking at the ripe age of seven. Thao eventually traded in her Easy Bake Oven for a real oven and began her culinary pursuits by earning her Bachelors degree from Johnson & Wales University in Baking and Pastry Arts.
After graduating, Thao honed her skills under a number of prominent Boston chefs, and has held roles including Head Baker at Sofra Bakery and Cafe and Pastry Chef at Upstairs on the Square.
Thao is currently a Pastry Chef Instructor at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. There, she shares her joy of baking and uses her passion for all things pastry to inspire and educate the next generation of culinary enthusiasts.