Jacques Pepin, famous chef, cookbook author, and TV personality revealed his beloved wife of 54 years, Gloria Pepin, has died. She was 83.
The tragic news was announced on the chef’s official Facebook page on December 6. The family’s statement said that Gloria Evelyn Augier Pepin “passed peacefully in her own bed in Madison, CT with Jacques, her daughter Claudine, her son-in-law Rollie, her granddaughter Shorey, close friends Tom Hopkins and Reza Yavari, and her beloved pup Gaston, by her side.”
“We are overcome with grief, but Gloria was a fighter: a strong, resilient, “spill-no-tears” woman. She would no doubt urge us to get on with living our lives and continue to do the work we were meant to do.”
Detailed in the family’s statement was the longtime couple’s love story of a lifetime:
The story of Gloria and Jacques’ meeting is quite infamous. He was a ski instructor at Hunter Mountain in NY. In spite of being an excellent skier on the ski patrol, Gloria signed up for ski lessons to spend time with the handsome Frenchman. She recalled, ‘He was so cute, I thought he was probably gay.’
Jacques and Gloria were married in 1966 and loved each other for an admirable 54 years. In all that time, they made sure to sit at the table every night for dinner, enjoying their meal and a glass of wine, intentionally reaffirming their marriage and their love. With Sinatra or Aznavour singing, they would sometimes spontaneously dance after dinner (as long as Jeopardy! was over). They were married at the home of Craig Claiborne, long-time food editor and restaurant critic for The New York Times, on Long Island, NY.
A cause of death was not immediately revealed.
Pepin Said It Would’ve Been Impossible to be Successful Without the Support of Your Spouse
The family’s death statement described Gloria Pepin as “bold and unapologetic, and never embarrassed. According to Gloria, there is always a ‘right’ way to do something. It was invariably, also, perfectly aligned with Gloria’s way. As Jacques has said frequently, ‘We always do things my way when we agree. But when we disagree, we do things her way.’”
Pepin, 84, who won a Daytime Emmy Award for his 1999 PBS series with Julia Child, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, whose most recent book, Jacques Pepin Quick & Simple, was released in November 2020, and has been honored with 24 James Beard Foundation Awards along with five honorary doctorate degrees, said that none of his success would’ve been possible without Gloria Pepin by his side, according to the family’s statement:
In their early years together, they lived in New York City and at an artist’s retreat on Hunter Mountain, where their life was a communal celebration with friends, of food and wine and joie de vivre. Claudine was born in 1967, while Jacques cooked, went to school, and wrote. They opened La Potagerie a small soup restaurant on 5th Avenue, between 45th and 46th street, in New York City, in 1970. Through it all, Gloria was his partner, his strength, his rock.
In 1974, they were tested by Jacques’ debilitating car accident. Gloria showed her immense strength and resilience when, with limited resources, she nursed Jacques back to health.
Together, Pepin and his wife restore the “dilapidated home” they bought in Madison, Connecticut in 1976, where the chef continues to live. She helped Pepin open Gloria’s French Cafe in their hometown, and managed the front of the house.
Fans & Fellow Celebrity Chefs Shared Their Condolences to Pepin on Social Media
After sharing the news of his wife’s death on Instagram, Pepin, who won the Emmy for Lifetime Achievement in 1999, and was honored with the Legion d’honneur, the highest order of merit in France, was showered with love from his fellow cooking community.
Joel Gamoran commented, “Chef she was incredible! Thinking of you and your family,” while Daniel Boulud wrote, “Je suis désolé Jacques d’apprendre cette triste nouvelle .mes condoléances a toi et toute la famille Pepin RIP.”
Bobby Chin said, “So sorry to hear of your loss. Sending love and light through this difficult time. Wishing you find peace for your loss in these sad times.”
A fan wrote on Pepin’s Facebook page, “So very sorry to hear this. Jacques love for his wife shines through every time you see him cooking. “Gloria likes it this way, or I make this for Gloria.” Heartbreaking. Jacques and family you are in my prayers.”