Pops Culture

Jacques Pépin, John Besh and Hugh Acheson share what they make for their kids and grandkids
Photo: Tom Hopkins
Jacques Pepin and his granddaughter

Used to be fathers were handy only at making scrambled eggs or flipping a burger.

Not this trio of iconic chef-dads: When they're not hosting award-winning television shows (Jacques Pépin), redefining NOLA cuisine (John Besh) or proclaiming the joys of vegetable cookery (Hugh Acheson), they're making their kids and grandkids some damn delicious things, like breakfast pasta, sunny grilled steaks and light-as-air soufflés.

These are anything but children's menus: Check out how these chefs make their kids' meals special, then maybe take some inspiration for how you can make your own dad feel full, happy and loved this Father's Day weekend.

Photos: Tasting Table & Michael Twitty

Breakfast at Hugh Acheson's House
"Who doesn't like pasta with eggs and bacon?" Hugh Acheson, the chef/owner of 5 & 10 in Athens, Georgia, muses. "I would say we eat it about once a week these days, but it is awesome."

That's a noticeable dip from a few times a week in the Acheson home, but that doesn't mean his breakfast carbonara (see the recipe) has lost its luster among his two daughters. Rather, the kid-approved carbonara has given way to more options for the girls in terms of building their own repertoire.

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"You'd be amazed at the innate skills of kids raised in 'from-scratch' kitchens," Acheson says. "Beatrice is 14, and Clementine is 12, so they make omelets, simple pastas, roasted tofu and salads."

Though the restaurant can be a baby in itself for chefs, it's taught Acheson lessons on being a father. "Nurture all you can," Acheson explains. "You will get better results with family and work." This Father's Day though, the former Top Chef judge is looking forward to a low-key day of sleeping in, listening to NPR and getting fed breakfast (maybe this pasta).

Photos: Maura McEvoy & Tasting Table

Grilling with the Besh Boys
"Those boys definitely have a bit of Creole in them," our food editor jokes after tasting this surprisingly spicy grilled steak (see the recipe) from New Orleans chef John Besh. Marinated in a variety of peppers (red flakes, Espelette, freshly ground black), the juicy steak is cooled by an herby cilantro and scallion sauce.

"Flank steak does not need to cook long," Besh explains. "It's tastiest grilled to medium rare, with a charred crust that results when the sugar in the marinade caramelizes with the pepper."

Along with flapjacks and fried chicken, this is a go-to for Besh's four red-meat-loving sons, who range in age from 11 to 20. The Louisiana native actually got his start in the kitchen after a tragic accident that left his father paralyzed. He fired up breakfast for his five siblings and grew to love cooking, from changing up his mom's shrimp Creole to now grilling up steaks for his boys.

Photos: Tasting Table & Tom Hopkins

Dessert, Chez Jacques Pépin
The Pépin girls are soufflé people—but that seems sort of natural when your dad is the legendary Jacques Pépin. His daughter, Claudine, prefers Pépin's late mother's savory soufflés, which range from cheese to mushroom. But his granddaughter is a different story.

"I have a big box of chocolate, and when she comes here, she goes straight to that box," Pépin says. "Since she was two years old, she liked chocolate in one form or another, so I make this once or twice a year."

Pépin drizzles his chocolate soufflé with an orange glaze (see the recipe), but unlike his girls, he learned how to cook from the long line of female chefs in his family. (However, his dad had one trick up his sleeve: fromage four, leftover pieces of cheese soaked with wine and chicken stock, and pounded with garlic and herbs.) And his own life in the kitchen has given Pépin a nostalgic outlook on his own family.

"Being a chef, you certainly gain love by feeding the people, and you give them memories," he says. "When you feed the kids, those days you have as a child stay with you for the rest of your life."

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