Jacques Pépin named Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by BU

in BU Today Features, Faculty News, MET News
May 6th, 2011

Jacques Pépin

Boston University will award Metropolitan College (MET) culinary instructor Jacques Pépin an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at commencement exercises on May 21, 2011. The acclaimed chef, author, and television personality is being recognized for his contributions to the University, including his role as co-founder (with Julia Child) of the MET master’s program in gastronomy and the certificate program in the culinary arts, which established the tradition of integrating hands-on culinary experience with the serious academic study of cuisine in society. Pépin, who has been a part-time faculty member at MET since 1983, has taught hundreds of Boston University students. He has additionally drawn over ten thousand residents of greater Boston to the University by hosting informal seminars, demonstrations, discussions, and special cooking events through MET’s Lifelong Learning programs. In 2005, MET honored Pépin with the Roger Deveau Memorial Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award.

Rebecca Alssid, director of Lifelong Learning at MET, says longtime friend and colleague Pépin “epitomizes the best of what a teacher, an artist, and humanist ought to be. He is recognized throughout the world for his culinary skill, his warmth of spirit, and his generosity as an educator and a person.”

Pépin’s career began with his exposure to cooking as a child in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pélican, in Bourg-en-Bresse, France. His training includes a formal apprenticeship at the distinguished Grand Hôtel de l’Europe and training under Lucien Diat at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris. Pépin served as personal chef to three French heads of State; honors conferred by the government of France include Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier de L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, and in 2004, the National Order of the Legion of Honour. He earned his master’s degree in eighteenth-century French literature from Columbia University.

Pépin’s involvement with MET and BU reflects his accomplished background and his enduring commitment to culinary education. In addition to his many contributions to newspapers and magazines, Pépin has published twenty-six books and hosted eleven public television series, including the recent Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way, which is the companion piece to the book of the same title.

Pépin has established a teaching legacy at MET that approaches cuisine from a perspective in which creativity is enabled by skillfulness, and intellectual curiosity is enabled by practicality. Under his guidance, MET’s gastronomy degree and culinary arts certificate have developed into highly regarded academic and professional credentials.

In response to BU’s announcement of the award, Pépin remarked: “It is a great honor and I am humbled, gratified, and very happy. It validates the work of chefs and the importance of cooking, dining, and sharing food with family and friends. Julia would be very proud.”

Read more about Jacques Pépin’s honorary doctorate on BU Today. Find MET’s full interview with Pépin here.

Learn more about programs in Food, Wine & the Arts at MET.