Janson Media // 2004 // 240 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // July 3rd, 2008
Known as the man who taught millions of Americans how to cook, French chef Jacques Pépin demonstrates his mastery of plenty of techniques to create simple but special meals in just a few minutes. Fast Food My Way with Jacques Pépin is adapted from his TV show of the same title, which airs on PBS and will head into a new season this fall. This DVD set is the first of three volumes released over the past three years, giving you a taste of what types of meals the famous cook likes to share with his audience.
Here's what's on the menu on this two-disc set:
* Thirty-minute cassoulet
* Zucchini and tomato salad
* Smoked salmon timbales
* Orange and cream cheese
* Mock tiramisu
* Smoked trout salad with horseradish cream
* Chicken breast on mashed cauliflower with red hot salsa
* Salmon tartare on cauliflower salad
* Chickpea ragout
* Breaded pork scalloppine with mushroom sauce
* Caramelized peaches
* Pasta, ham, and vegetable gratin
* Romaine and radicchio with salsa dressing
* Crab cakes in red sauce
* Big almond macaroons with apricot filling
* Egg and tomato gratin
* Stuffed scallops on mushroom rice
* Greens with quick cream dressing
* Pineapple wedges in caramel
* Sausage and potato packets
* Devil shrimp
* Mushroom and walnut salad in sour cream dressing
* Apple peel granite with apple puree
* Asparagus custards
* Slow-cooked tuna steaks with tomato relish
* Apple skillet cake
* Tomato tartare with tomato water sauce
* Rigatoni and mussels with saffron
* Puree of peas with mint and cilantro
* Strawberry shortbread panachee
Beginners who really haven't had any cooking experience whatsoever will likely struggle a bit to keep up with Jacques Pépin during his interesting lessons, but those who already know how to properly operate a stove should enjoy his guidelines to the fullest extent. As mentioned above, the DVD set comes with eight lessons spread across two discs. Each lesson is about 30 minutes long, giving viewers the opportunity to put together an entire menu without spending hours in the kitchen. The selection is mostly a mixture of dishes Pépin often cooks at home or remembers from his childhood.
Most of Pépin's menus on here are pretty inventive and very easy to prepare, and it's really interesting to watch him cook excellent meals that are less challenging to make than they actually look. But again, if you haven't figured out the cooking thing quite yet, Pépin may move a little too fast at times. What is more frustrating at times is his strong French accent, which makes it tough to understand him at times. I've had my share of years studying French and didn't see that as too much of a problem, but if you're not familiar with how the French generally speak or articulate, you may hit the rewind button on your remote a couple of times.
Because there is not much to say about a DVD like this one, I decided I would give it a try myself and prepare one of Pépin's menus. I chose the sausage and potato packets and devil shrimp, although I made the caramelized peaches from Lesson 3 for dessert instead of the apple peel granite. Although I'm certainly no expert in the kitchen, I was really surprised at how much fun it is to follow his techniques. I do admit I played around with the play and pause buttons a lot to allow myself some time to breathe and prep my meal, but in the end, it worked out quite well. Based on that firsthand experience, I can only recommend this DVD if you're thinking about expanding your cooking skills.
There's not much to say about the quality of the image or the audio transfer, except that they're both sharp and clean throughout. For what it is, the technical aspects are certainly decent.
Although it's not really surprising, this edition of Fast Food My Way with Jacques Pépin does not contain any special features. It's not a big deal, since in the end, it's all about the cooking anyway, right?
I have to admit I had never heard of Jacques Pépin before reviewing this DVD, but he's a dab hand at preparing and presenting his meals with a lot of energy and personality. I never really had a passion for cooking, but watching these lessons and trying out one myself turned out to be a whole lot of fun. As a matter of fact, I'm gearing up right now to go to the store and get the ingredients for my next menu. Bon appétit!
Review content copyright © 2008 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Janson Media
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 240 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site
* DVD Verdict Review - Volume 1