Jacques Pepin (born December 18, 1935) is a French chef working in the United States. Pepin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse near Lyon, and began cooking in his parents' restaurant, Le Pelican, at the age of 12. He went on to work in Paris, training under Lucien Diat at the Plaza Athenee. He eventually served as a personal chef for Charles De Gaulle and two other French premiers. Upon immigration to the United States in 1959, Pepin turned down a job offer at the White House, and instead accepted a position as the director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson chain of hotels. He stayed at Howard Johnson for ten years. In 1970, Pepin graduated from Columbia University School of General Studies and in 1972 earned a Master of Arts in 18th Century French poetry from Columbia."