Jacques Pépin Has Over 300 Knives (& More We Learned When He Visited)

November 10, 2016

Extremely lucky for all of us, Jacques Pépin keeps popping into the Food52 test kitchen to teach us a thing or two. Last time, it was about chicken, but more recently, he came on Facebook Live to show us some simple—but super important—knife skills for prepping vegetables.

More: Watch Jacques Pépin make a butter flower and a tomato flower.

You really have to watch the master (right here) to glean all the tips and tricks he has for us, but here's a smattering of some of our favorite takeaways:

1. Cut down, then glide forward or backward—"don’t chomp down on your food.”

2. Remove the stem of the garlic before you peel it—it makes peeling easier.

3. Before chopping garlic, crush the clove with the side of your knife, then pull the knife towards you—it’ll release the garlic’s oils.

4. Julia Child gave Jacques Pépin a garlic press. He doesn’t like it much.

5. When it comes to onions, the sharper the knife, the less you’re going to cry.

6. For fresh asparagus, look for a tight bud—just like a flower is contracted when it’s young.

7. Jacques has 300 knives (give or take).

8. “You don’t have to be a genius to run a restaurant. You just have to be a good technician.”

9. What to do with apple peels? Dry them, then make tea, as his grandfather did.

10. To remove tomato seeds, just squeeze halved tomatoes like a lemon.

Tell us: What did Jacques Pépin teach you?

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Marianne Collins Patterson
    Marianne Collins Patterson
  • aargersi
  • Ryan Powell
    Ryan Powell
  • Greenstuff
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Marianne C. April 25, 2021
I would like to know how to truss a chicken. I have watched videos and can never seem to get it right!
aargersi November 11, 2016
I'll tell you what that bad man did not teach me - fast deboning! Ha - I kid - not his fault at all - for sure - but his deboning technique does work no matter how long it takes!
Ryan P. November 10, 2016
i never knew the onion trick! good to know!
Greenstuff November 10, 2016
My story is that Jacques Pepin had been taught, like a lot of us, that the green germ in garlic was bitter and should be removed. He tested it out and found that he actually liked the taste better with the germ left in. I've always meant to repeat that test myself. I still remove the germ--fussy habits die hard--but when I'm in an occasional rush and leave it in, I think of him.