The Five Questions: Claudine Pepin
December 8, 2010
This holiday time of the year can be cruel indeed. There are invitations that come across my email to fly away, mid-week to weekend for a tasting of several new rums- in the French West Indies! Or the email that I got a few days earlier to go sailing on a yacht while drinking the cell phone free hours away. Who does this kind of thing? With hardly any notice? I don’t know, perhaps the simple fact that I’m being asked- I don’t think it’s the act of going, although I’d like to be somewhere warm on a day like today. Have I said? It’s below freezing and only just December.
Reading over my interview with Claudine Pepin makes me feel like I’ve been transported to the French protectorate island of St. Barth’s. From the moment that we met virtually through Facebook, I was taken by her warmth and generosity. Claudine is kind and her smile shines through her written words. Today might be very cold, but right now having done a rough edit of our interview, I feel radiant and warm inside. Thank you Claudine for helping me find my voice for good story-telling. And thank you to the Wild River Review for helping me find interesting people to ask: The Five Questions.
1. Where are you from? What is your earliest memory of food?
I was born in NYC, but grew-up in Madison, CT and often spent summers in France with my Father’s side of the family. Now, that may sound ‘fancy’ – truth be told, I was at a house, that could have been anywhere in the world, except that the bread and cheese were exceptional! I don’t have an early memory of food – but I have very few memories that don’t involve food! My parents tell a story that when I was very small they gave me some caviar on a piece of buttered bread and I licked off the caviar and promptly returned the soggy bread and asked for more!
Here’s a picture of my friend Servane and I ….Just waiting!!
2. What is your favorite wine for grilled salt water fish? How do you feel about organic/biodynamic wines?
Hmmmm. Well, depends on the fish – Salmon or Cod or Mackerel, or Sardines, and how it is grilled and what it is served with…..But, If I could choose, I’d have the freshest grilled sardines and a French rose from Bandol. As for how I feel about organic/biodynamic wines – are they good? Do they come from a good house that takes care of their people as well as the earth? If yes, I think they’re great. It is the way things were done hundreds of years ago – and now it is coming back – wine, food, style, it is all cyclical.
Here’s a picture I took in Hong Kong at an amazing market!
3. Is there anything that you prepare that brings a tear to your eye when you eat/prepare it? Why?
But as for taste memory, I think it would have to be a roasted chicken, with herbs de provence, potatoes and garlic, served with a butter-lettuce salad and a garlic vinaigrette. Or perhaps a vegetable soup. Or a great omelette with fine herbs….these are the dishes that cry home to me.
Here’s a picture of a day of our garden harvest!
4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be? What would you be eating/drinking when you got there?
It matters little where I am – it matters whom I am with. Family and friends trump all. However, with all my family and closest friends, in a small beach town with great local food and wine, and, of course a petanque court, that would be quite perfect! I’m not one for long long sit-down dinners – but a casual warm evening, outside, and you can smell the trees, grass and feel the ocean breeze – and hear lots of laughter – and remember it’s not about how much the wine costs – it’s who you share it with that makes the best memory!
Here’s a bunch of us at thanksgiving this year – my fantastic husband is not in it – he was taking the picture – but he’s always my first choice to share a meal with.
5. Social Media brought us together. I would have never had the chance to meet/converse with you without it. Do you have a strategy for Facebook/Twitter? How do you like to use Facebook?
I have no strategy for any social media! But I am grateful for it. I try to post once a day, mostly about food, since I love it, and accept just about anyone as a friend! I’ve certainly learned more than I have taught and have had the chance to catch-up with friends that I thought were gone for good. I feel privileged to share a piece of all the lives of the friends that I have and the ones that I have made.
Thank you Claudine for sharing with my readers your passion for story-telling. I enjoyed sharing the table with you. Cheers! wb
Warren Bobrow is a mixologist, chef, and writer known as the Cocktail Whisperer. In 2010, Bobrow founded “Wild Table” for Wild River Review and serves as the master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition.
Bobrow has published three books on mixology and written articles for Saveur magazine, Voda magazine, Whole Foods-Dark Rye, Distiller, Beverage Media, DrinkupNY and other periodicals. He writes the “On Whiskey” column for Okra Magazine at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and has written restaurant reviews for New Jersey Monthly.
His first book Apothecary Cocktails, was published in September 2013; and immediately went into a second printing. In 2014, he published Whiskey Cocktails. He was born and raised in Morristown, NJ, on a Biodynamic farm.
Warren Bobrow in this Edition
COCKTAIL WHISPERER, Editor
Apothecary Cocktails: Mexican Sleep Cure
Billy Reid: Bourbon, Branch and a Splash of Southern Lore
Blue Hill/Stone Barns: Time Exists in Harmony with Nature
The Cocktail Whisperer asks Anthony Bourdain Four Questions about Scotch
The Five Questions: Andrew Bell, American Sommelier
The Five Questions Catherine Reynolds
The Five Questions: Lincoln Henderson (Master Distiller)
The Five Questions: Natalie West (Foppiano Wines)
The Five Questions: Randall Grahm
The Five Questions: Sustainable Sushi
A Glass of Bourbon, Branch, and History
Midnight in the Bronx: Visit to Hunt’s Point Wholesale Fish Exchange
A Modern Day Absinthe Alchemist
A Summer Cocktail Party for Artie Shaw
Tales of the Cocktail: New Orleans, Louisiana