The serrated blade of this bread knife is made of stainless steel and features a stylized “J” in the shape of an umbrella, the logo for Chef Jacques Pépin. Its black, plastic handle has a non-slip surface and, according to the production specifications, is shaped for both comfort and balance in the hand. Pépin donated this bread knife and other items from the “Jacques by Lunt” collection of cutlery and kitchen tools he designed in the early 2000s in partnership with Lunt Silversmiths of Greenfield, Massachusetts. The tools in the product line were made in China. Lunt closed in 2009 after 107 years in business.
The knife is in its original packaging, which includes advice on knife sharpening techniques as well as this quote from Pépin: “A sharp knife is the most important tool you can have in the kitchen.” The packaging also includes a lifetime warranty for the knife and reveals its retail price of $25 is the early 2000s.
Born in 1935 in the French town of Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon, Jacques Pépin is widely known as a chef, artist, television star, and author. He has written more than two dozen cookbooks, including the classics La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking in 1976 and La Methode, in 1979.
Pépin’s love for cooking began at a young age, first assisting in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pelican, and then, at age 17, apprenticing at the Grand Hotel de l’Europe in Paris. He continued perfecting his craft in Paris, where he served as the personal chef to three French heads of state including Charles de Gaulle. In 1959, he moved to the United States, settling in New York City and landing a job at the esteemed French restaurant Le Pavillon. From 1960 to 1970 he served as the director of research and development for the Howard Johnson’s restaurant chain, and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Columbia University.
Over many years Jacques Pépin has shared his love of cooking by teaching in the culinary arts program at Boston University (a program he co-founded with Julia Child) and serving as Dean of Special Programs at the International Culinary Center in New York City. Among his numerous television cooking shows was the series, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, on PBS that won an Emmy award and a James Beard Foundation award in 2001. His 2015 series and book, Heart & Soul in the Kitchen, reflects the kind of food he prepares at home with family and friends.
On August 13, 2015, The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts selected Jacques Pépin the first recipient of the Julia Child Award, in recognition of his achievements in promoting the culinary arts. Upon receiving the Julia Child Award, Pépin donated objects, illustrated menus, and documents reflecting his life in food and the culinary arts to the National Museum of American History. The objects include kitchen tools Pépin designed in the early 2000s in partnership with Lunt Silversmiths. The archival materials are housed in the Museum’s Archives Center as the Jacques Pépin Papers, 1952-2015.
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