Famed French chef Jacques Pépin has shared the heartbreaking news that Gloria, his wife of over five decades, has died. She was 83.
“She 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,” read a statement posted on the chef and author’s Facebook. A cause of death was not specified.
“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,” the statement continued. “In lieu of flowers, Gloria wished condolence gifts should be made to the food insecurity or animal welfare charity of your choice.”
Gloria is survived by her husband of 54 years, their daughter Claudine, and granddaughter Shorey.
In his last social media post before Gloria's death, the 84-year-old culinary legend shared an instructional video, making "one of Gloria’s favorites."
The lengthy social media statement also reflected on Jacques and Gloria’s enduring love story.
“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,’ ” the statement read.
The pair went on to get married in 1966 at the home of Craig Claiborne, a former food editor and restaurant critic for The New York Times. Their daughter Claudine was born one year later.
“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),” the statement continued.
In addition to being remembered as “stately, dignified and classically elegant,” Gloria was a constant support to her husband throughout the years.
“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,” the statement read, going on to note that they were also tested in 1974 after Jacques got into a “debilitating car accident.”
“Gloria showed her immense strength and resilience when, with limited resources, she nursed Jacques back to health,” the statement continued.
“For many years, though they lived on a tight budget, Gloria always had an appreciation for the beautiful and finer things in life,” the statement read. “She loved caviar, champagne and foie gras (she preferred a cold terrine to sautéed.) Yet as Jacques earned fame, she was never pretentious and typically added ice to her wine.”
“She worshipped the sun and warmth. They wintered for years in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and later on Amelia Island in Florida. At least once each year they would sail on Oceania Cruises to someplace warm and delicious,” the statement continued. “We know that Gloria has now found a place of place full of sun and warmth and love in many hearts.”
Due to coronavirus concerns, there are currently no funeral plans, but “by her request, there will be a big 'Boules’ des Dimanche Club' party with all of her friends on her birthday in June 2021.”
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