The Island Today: Chef Pepin serves up life, career

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On Thursday, May 4, the Gold Coast Arts Center and Gold Coast International Film Festival will host legendary chef Jacques Pépin at an exclusive fundraising event celebrating his life and career.

The event will include a tasting of over a dozen of Pépin’s most noted recipes prepared by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Ginor of LOLA.

Wine will be included as part of the unique culinary cocktail experience.

After the tasting, guests will go next door to the Great Neck Squire theater for a preview screening of the upcoming PBS film, “American Masters: Jacques Pépin – The Art Of Craft,” which will be followed by a live Q&A with Pépin moderated by Ginor.

The evening will conclude with dessert prepared by Ginor and his talented team.

A select number of auction items will be available that night, including one of Pépin’s own chef coats signed by him.

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Pépin has released 28 cookbooks and 13 companion PBS-TV series, and has received 16 James Beard Foundation Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

He is a former columnist for The New York Times, with countless articles also appearing in Food & Wine magazine, and is the recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from five American universities.

Other notable awards include France’s highest civilian honor, La Légion d’Honneur (2004), the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres (1997), the Mérite Agricole (1992), the American Public Television’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2015), and the inaugural Julia Child Award, which was presented to him at The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in October 2015.

A longtime close friend of Child, he starred with her in the PBS series “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home,” which won both an Emmy Award and a James Beard Foundation Award.

Among his many other accomplishments, Pépin served as personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle from 1960 to 1970, and was director of research and new development for Howard Johnson’s, developing recipes for the restaurant chain.

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Ginor is co-founder and chef of Hudson Valley Foie Gras.

HVFG received the 1996 Award for Excellence from the James Beard Foundation.

Ginor has been honored by the James Beard Foundation, has received the American Master Taster Award from the American Tasting Institute, and was nominated by Food & Wine magazine as the People’s Choice as Top Ten Chefs in New York.

He has also received Food Arts Magazine’s Silver Spoon Award.

Ginor and Chef Ken Oringer’s Boston restaurant, La Verdad, has been awarded “The Best Casual Mexican Restaurant in the U.S.” by Bon Appétit magazine and “One of the Best 100 Restaurants in the U.S.” by Food & Wine magazine.

In 2009, Ginor opened LOLA in Great Neck, hailed as one of Long Island’s best restaurants, receiving the top rating from the New York Times and Newsday, which described him as a “brilliant, volatile… (a) shooting star.”

The tasting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at LOLA, 113a Middle Neck Road, followed by the film screening and Q&A from 8:15 to 9:45 p.m. at the Great Neck Squire Theater, 113 Middle Neck Road.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://goldcoastfilmfestival.org/pepin/.

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