Fills in what the book can't show you
J. Lin | Seattle, WA | 02/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Growing up I learned what I know of cooking by watching my mom (a very good cook) prepare meals over the course of years. I've since become a bit of an amateur foodie with aspirations of being able to prepare more complicated dishes at home.
One thing that has always been frustrating, however, is a lack of any formal instruction or technique. So when I bought the book of Pepin's "Complete Techniques" I was eager to learn. Alas, I realized that even with black and white photos accompanying each of the steps, there were a lot of things I simply didn't understand, or could only guess at what was meant.
Cue this DVD set -- I stumbled upon it looking for other editions of the book, and ordered it immediately. Since its arrival a few weeks ago I've watched it many times and I've subjected at least a dozen people to watch at least the omlette-making lesson.
This DVD is far and away the best thing that has happened to my cooking skills in the last ten years. Humans learn by imitation and it's much easier to learn when watching someone actually doing and walking you through the technique than trying to read it out of a book. All the TV shows and specials gloss over the fundamental techniques you need in order to get anywhere. As in all arts, without a good grasp of the basic moves, you'll get hopelessly lost very quickly when you attempt anything beyond the remedial.
I can't recommend this DVD set highly enough if you, like me, have always wanted some kind of cooking "training" but can't make the time to go to a class or take lessons."
Not So Complete
Steven Dooley | Sydney, Australia | 03/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD is a reworking of a TV series from the mid-90s that was released on VHS as "Jacques Pepin's Cooking Techniques". Unfortunately, not everything from the original series has been included on the DVD. As stated by other reviewers the presentation format in the DVD is also combersome, with most segments lasting less than five minutes and then returning to the menu.
It would have made a much better product and been less disjointed if they just released on DVD the original series as originally made. Also the DVD features a couple of segements from Jacques' early 90s series "Today's Gourmet". It would be great if KQED would release these on DVD also.
Nevertheless, the DVD does present the basic and most common techniques used in the kitchen, and is useful for anyone who wants to improve their skills as a cook."
Worth every penny
MikeInOhio | Lorain, OH United States | 07/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2-DVD set is great. Jacques Pepin is an excellent teacher and his experience in the kitchen is evident as you watch him bone a chicken or cook the perfect omelet or mince garlic or whatever! His speed and economy of hand-movement is awe inspiring. It's like watching a musician.
About the way the DVD's are set up - I share the frustration of other reviewers. You can't simply push PLAY and watch everything on the disk. But please don't let that put you off. If you want to improve your cooking skills and learn some new skills too, this is the set to get.
Culinary genius, but PBS needs help issuing DVDs
Nathan E. Collins | Michigan | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jacques Pepin is a culinary genius and this DVD enables you watch him perform a number of techniques - everything from boning a chicken to making a rabbit out of an olive. If you enjoyed the book, "Complete Techniques," this will be a welcome addition to your library. PBS, however, could have made the DVD much more enjoyable to view by adding some basic features. For example, most of the techniques are rather short (5 minutes or less), yet PBS made this DVD without the ability to "play all." Therefore, you are constantly sent back to the main menu every few minutes. The extra video footage is a bit awkward to navigate through, also. However, Pepin's skill and knowledge of classical French cuisine make up for the faults of PBS. My favorite parts are those listed under "The Art of Jacques Pepin." Here he teaches you how to beautifully garnish your dishes the French way. All in all, this DVD is highly recommended."