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Jacques Pépin's Complete Techniques

4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  1,499 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The fully illustrated bible of cooking techniques from the world's best-known French cook is now in paperback and in one volume for the first time ever.
From a master chef and the current co-star (with Julia Child) of the hit television series iCooking at Home/i, comes everything the home cook needs to perfect his or her kitchen skills-assisted by instructive, step-by-step
Hardcover, 848 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Black Dog & Leventhal
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Sep 21, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is exactly right: Jacques puts forth a thousand (really) different techniques here, all with photographs and detailed instructions. Although I'm not sure when I'll find occasion to carve swans out of apples or spend 12 hours making beef stock, I'm excited to have this book. French cooking is a whole new world for me, and this is the perfect book to get started with.
Jul 08, 2010 Starlight rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to cook
Recommended to Starlight by: Robert Raiter (R.I.P)
Chef Pepin teaches about everything about cooking in this book. I use it as a constant reference in the kitchen. Whether you are a home cook or a professional, this is a book that should be on your shelf.
On a personal note, I got to meet Chef Pepin at a book signing several years ago. Not only did he sign my (spattered and stained due to use) copy of Complete Techniques, I got to have my photo taken with him.
Quite an honor to be photographed with one of my culinary heroes.
May 06, 2007 Don rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who want to learn to cook
This was the book that I was told to read if I wanted to learn how to cook. It has everything you will need to know in order to cook well, from simple knife techniques, to building sauces, to tying roasts, to your basic cuts of meat. This book was instrumental in developing my own ideas of food and cooking. With the ideas you get from this book you'll be writting and creating your own recipes based on these classic and simple lessons.
Liz De Coster
Mar 13, 2011 Liz De Coster rated it it was ok
Shelves: hobbies, food
Another classic of French cuisine and techniques. Pepin is slightly more technique than recipe focused in this book (appropriately for the title), but the result is recipes that seem extremely fussy except for the fanciest of dinner parties. There are good techniques in here if you're interested in making a puff pastry swan or any one of a number of fruit/vegetable rosettes; since I can't imagine doing that, back to the library with Pepin!
Jan 30, 2008 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, cookbooks
I borrowed this book from the library, and I would have renewed it forever if someone didn't have it on hold. It's a dense culinary bible of more than 600 pages, thoroughly illustrated with photographs of Pepin doing the demonstrations himself. It's a great source of foundational (and random i.e. how to make flower-shaped garnishes) knowledge for anyone interested in learning proper cooking techniques from the ground up.
Feb 14, 2008 Ginny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
About 1/4 of the way through - it is thick (and very good). Excellent explanation and pictures of every technique imaginable. I love it. The book is based on the PBS Jacques Pepin series that went through a technique or food item per 1/2 hour episode. I think this series is on CD or DVD. I think that would be the only thing better than the book. Now finished - tried some recipes and my opinion remains unchanged. Very good technique oriented book.
Mike Duigou
Aug 25, 2013 Mike Duigou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that has taught me much. I still refer to it often whenever doing something new or for a refresher on a seldom used technique (such as rolling croissant). I also like the accompanying video series which was made about 10 years later.

It is an amazing work considering the time it was made before the age of digital cameras and the number of photographs it includes.
Steve Rheinstrom
Complete techniques is a combination of 4 indispensable volumes of Jacques Pépin. I have had "La Technique" and "La Methode" from the time that they were first published, and I bought Pépin's "A French Chef Cooks at Home" shortly thereafter. When "The Art of Cooking Volumes 1 and 2" came out, it was a natural addition to my cooking library. I can think of no other books (sorry Julia) that are as clearly written with step-by-step instructions and photography as Jacques's landmark works that teach ...more
Nov 13, 2007 Tien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like the pictures of Jacques cutting up watermelons to look like penguins and other animals, but it makes me sad that great chefs waste their time doing crap like this. I guess it's entertaining. In any case, I love Jacques and this book is a great reference point because every step has a picture! So if you screw up, you'll know right away instead of at the end when you taste it and throw it out because it's just that gross.

There are basic techniques and recipes and there are more complicated
Lee S
Jun 11, 2010 Lee S rated it it was amazing
The art of teaching yourself fundamental cooking technique starts here. I learned more about the proper way to make food from its beginnings here than I could find in any book I searched. This book, along with the Culinary Institute of Americas (CIA) textbook are wonderful kitchen companions. A true chef cannot deny the importance of learning from these books. The proof will be evident by the smiles on your dinner guests faces after the first taste of duck confit!
Aug 03, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love learning professional cooking tips and techniques, and this book doesn't let down. If you want to learn the basics of french cooking, this is a great tome. My biggest complaint is that the pictures are in black and white and not that easy to see what they are doing.

Great for learning the basics and some advanced techniques. Tom Colicchio of Top Chef fames says this is the book that taught him how to cook which is why I bought it.
Sep 23, 2007 Allison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: serious gastronomes
You won't find a lot to love here if you're not interested in, say, how to cure your own raw ham, how to make your own salami, or how to prepare veal brains in black butter. There's step-by-step photos for every technique outlined in the book, and Pepin is wonderful at pointing out details and side notes that can be useful in a broader range of applications.
Jul 25, 2011 Justin rated it it was amazing
Simply indispensable for the culinary autodidact. Mastering these essential techniques will forever sever the umbilical cord that chains the novice to recipes. With technique at your disposal, improvisation becomes possible, and improvisation brings the singular joy of creative satisfaction. An absolute must-own.
Jul 26, 2007 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody who cooks
In terms of cooking technique, I doubt there has ever been a finer book written. Perhaps the quintessential reference guide. You may have other books for recipes, but this is the all-purpose book for showing you how to execute the techniques you need to do the actual cooking. For experts and beginners alike, I can't imagine a more valuable book to own.
Jul 31, 2008 Emily rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Emily by: My mom
The man is a master of his craft. You know how you can find a recipe for anything in the Joy of Cooking? Well, you can find a technique for anything in this book, from boning a chicken to rolling a galantine and making puff pastry, it's all there.
Jan 31, 2015 Ivonne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbook-library
Doug Sanders
Feb 12, 2015 Doug Sanders rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read. I can't speak highly enough about how wonderful a resource this book is. I don't know that it's designed to be read front to back like other book. Do yourself a favor and read it!
Adam Shaw
Sep 02, 2009 Adam Shaw rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For any French Cooking technique with easy descriptions, this is that book!
Oct 17, 2010 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Woodman
he is good, but I find him irritating
Jan 26, 2017 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The descriptions were clear and easy to follow (not common when reading something from a master chef) and the photos were incredibly helpful. I only wish the photos had been in color.
It really is more of a texbook than a "what should I make for dinner" cookbook.
Anyone who has the patience to study it can't help but learn a lot from it.
May 27, 2008 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Need to learn how to do something cooking related? Step-by-step pictures and simple explanations for most any cooking technique will blow your mind.
Rebecca Huston
This one, along with Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, will pretty much give you enough skills to tackle any recipe. An awful lot of good common sense is in this book.
David Merz
David Merz rated it it was amazing
Jan 17, 2013
Jake rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2012
Peter rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2013
Feb 23, 2014 Lawrence marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
William Hess
William Hess rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2013
Paul Breed
Paul Breed rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2014
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Jacques Pépin is a French chef, television personality, and author working in the United States.
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