Jacques Pépin Eats Everything Except Raw Fetuses

Gloria and Jacques Pépin
Gloria and Jacques Pépinhaha Photo: Patrick McMullan

It was a foodie fantasy last night at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the likes of Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Sirio Maccioni, Drew Nieporent, and Jacques Pépin had gathered for the lavish annual Food Allergy Ball. We caught up with Jacques Pépin in the grand ballroom before he was to be honored for his valiant fight against cross-contamination. Asked if he had any food allergies himself, the master chef admitted, “No, I don’t,” adding that “I’m a real glutton. I eat anything you put in front of me.” We found that hard to believe from a man known for culinary perfection. “Ask my wife!” he said, so we did. “He’ll eat anything I put in front of him!” Mme. Pépin testified. Still, we wondered if old Jacques can be a diva at home — had he ever pronounced Lady Pépin’s grub “unacceptable”? “Are you kidding? She’d put it on my head, I say that!”

Of course, Jacques Pépin would eat a bird fetus so long as it’s cooked — and he has. “I ate that in Vietnam, actually,” he told us. “You cut [the egg shell], and through the cooked egg you could see one feather and the fetus. But in China, they break it open and you grab the fetus and you eat it raw. I couldn’t eat that.” —Ben Kawaller