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Jacques Pépin's Copper Conquest

Jacques Pépin’s new line of cookware is a culinary tour de force 

Written by Stephen Exel

Chef, cookbook author, watercolorist, television star, and national culinary treasure Jacques Pépin has added another accolade to his name: cookware designer. Pépin collaborated with premier French cookware manufacturer Mauviel to create a collection of essential copper pots and pans.

Chef Jacques Pépin at home in Connecticut.

The partnership began when kitchen retailer Sur La Table approached Pépin to design dinnerware featuring reproductions of his charming watercolors of chickens. That led to a cookbook and cookware.

Pépin visited the Normandy-based Mauviel factory to witness the production of his line.

At the Mauviel factory, “it was great to see traditions I saw 60 years ago still in place,” Pépin says. “Today, though, we use copper exteriors and stainless-steel interiors to promote the best transfer of heat for cooking.”

The chef reviews a finished piece.

The collection includes two specialty pans, a rondeau and an egg-white-beating bowl. The chef has a certain nostalgia for the rondeau, a wide straight-sided pan. “It replaces what my mom called a faitout—a ‘does-everything pot,’ ” Pépin says. “I can do a wonderful stew or paella; I can cook a beautiful dish and take it directly to the table.”

The egg-white-beating bowl—it doesn’t have a fancy name—is essential for whisking egg whites. Using the bowl causes the release of copper ions that stabilize the whites and results in fluffy meringue clouds. 

Great pans and practical techniques steer aspiring cooks toward success. Pépin advises them to “have a glass of wine. Don’t try too hard. Relax. Get used to the food. If you burn the chicken, have another glass of wine.”

The copper cookware is available in 7- and 10-piece sets, plus specialty pieces.