Millions of reality TV fans can't enough of their favorite food competition shows like "Top Chef," "Chopped," and "Hell's Kitchen."
But Jacques Pepin isn't one of those people.
While promoting new chef-focused episodes of the PBS documentary series “American Masters,” the celebrated chef and cookbook author slammed culinary cooking shows once again, reports The Wrap.
“Cooking is about being together, about love and sharing, Pepin told reporters at the Television Critics Association Press Tour. "That kind of confrontation that you have there is not really how you learn to cook, or how you understand food,”
Pepin, considered one of the first modern TV chefs, rose to fame in the 1980s alongside Julia Child with simple stand-and-stir programs that showcased classic French culinary cooking school techniques. But the times have changed and Pepin says he's distraught over the competitive nature of today’s cooking television shows.
Alice Waters, of the organic eatery Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. (who also appears in the documentary) echoed Pepin's sentiments about the state of modern cooking programs.
“We’re teaching the kind of fast food values of our country in those competition cooking shows, when in fact cooking really is something that can be very meditative,” Waters said.
She added that cooking should never be focused on one-upping others in the kitchen but rather "it's about the pleasure of dealing with real food.”
This isn't the first time Pepin has expressed disdain for the way chefs are portrayed on TV today. Pepin had harsh words for Gordon Ramsay's "Hell’s Kitchen" in July. In an open letter that appeared on The Daily Meal, the French chef slammed competitive cooking shows for humiliating hard working cooks.
“The so-called 'reality' cooking shows are, if anything, totally unreal. A real, well-run professional kitchen has dignity and order,” wrote Pepin at the time.
“Chefs Flight," which features four master chefs in four episodes under PBS' "American Masters" series premieres in May.