French celebrity chef Jacques Pépin was born on December 18, 1935 to parents who were both restaurateurs near Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. He moved to the United States in the 1960s to work in a friend’s restaurant and started taking classes at Columbia University to learn English. Pépin had interrupted his formal education when he began an apprenticeship at age 13.
He’s starred in more than 13 TV series and written over 20 cookbooks where he always stresses the importance of proper technique. Today, he serves as Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute and he co-teaches a course on French culture and cuisine at the Boston University School of Gastronomy, from which he has also received an Honorary Doctorate. In 2004, France honored Pépin with the Légion d’Honneur.
Today’s expression, va te faire cuire un œuf (vah tuh fair kweer uhn uef), means “go cook yourself an egg.” It’s the equivalent of our expression, “go fly a kite” or “get lost.” Pépin’s devotion to proper technique has taught many an aspiring chef how to cook an egg and so much more. Now, how long am I supposed to cook a three-minute egg for?