Cooking with Jacques
October 28, 2007

At left: "It's fun to cook together."

Wow. Well, my 11 days of working behind the scenes of KQED's new Jacques Pépin show are nearly over, and I'm of two minds about it. On the one hand, I can't believe the 12-hour days have flown so quickly, but on the other, there was a time when I thought the 12-hour days would never end. (Those first two days were killer.)

Working on this show -- cooking in the back kitchen and being a food runner to the set -- has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. See, it was watching WGBH's Saturday airings of Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home that got me all impassioned to start cooking beyond the microwave as well as learning everything about food. (There were some dark days when, after reading Alice Waters' Vegetables, I hit upon the depressing realization that there were multiple varieties of mushrooms and tomatoes that I would never get my Boston-based hands on.) Before starting any recipe, I used to consult the VHS tape my husband had put together of all the shows because I "need[ed] to see how Jacques and Julia do it."

To work side-by-side with one of the people who started me on my culinary road...well, words flee before the enormous responsibility of trying to capture my mood. To meet, work with, and have constant daily interactions with such a mentor as Jacques Pépin, it's an impossible dream come true.

I almost don't even want to write about it, because I know in my heart that I can never do the experience justice. However, in a few more days, when the set is struck, the food is cooked, and the wine is drunk, I will try my damnedest to do just that. (After I sleep for three days straight, of course.)

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