Jacques Pépin's Favorite French Restaurants In The US - Exclusive

Born and raised in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, acclaimed culinary author, educator, and television personality Jacques Pépin got his start in his parents' restaurant as a child and later served as an apprentice at the Grand Hôtel de L'Europe at the age of 13. But he has also called the United States home since his arrival in 1959 — his artistry was on display in the restaurant Le Pavillion in New York City for many years and later as the head of Research and Development for Howard Johnson.

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Pépin discussed his newest cookbook — "Cooking My Way" — the comforts of cooking at home, and the French restaurants in New York that he considers fantastic. He told us that although he deeply enjoys dining at acclaimed Michelin restaurants, he also values the simple pleasures of a meal prepared at a bistro or a dish that he can make at home with the ingredients already in his pantry. But there are still some delicacies that Pépin prefers to savor out in the world, specifically ones with complex and timely preparations.

Meals to enjoy at a restaurant

When we asked about Jacques Pépin's favorite French restaurants in the United States, he cheekily replied, "Probably [eating] at home" — and to be fair, any home-cooked meal of his is undoubtedly a culinary delicacy worthy of envy. But there are still certain dishes that he'd rather savor at some of New York's illustrious French restaurants. "Certainly, a dish made from lobster or different types of fish, which are too much work to do at home ... things like pâte and all that, which takes several days to prepare, certain types of dessert like vol-au-vent," he said. "I would enjoy those more in a restaurant than at home."

As for Pépin's favorite restaurants, he finds it difficult to choose given the variety and types of establishments that exist, but one of his top contenders is featured on our list of the 15 Best French Restaurants in New York. "[Restaurants] are so different — between a bistro where you're going to eat very simple food, to something like Per Se or Daniel in New York that may cost a thousand dollars. They're really not comparable," he said. "Of course, I'm very lucky because I'm always invited to those restaurants. As I mentioned, Daniel in New York and Per Se are fantastic restaurants. I wish I could cook as good as them."

"Cooking My Way" is now available for purchase here. For all things Jacques Pépin and the Jacques Pépin Foundation, visit Instagram.