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Personal Best Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2007 - Chef Jean-Pierre

Jean-Pierre Brehier's mother was a Cordon Bleu chef, so by the time he was five years old, the French-born chef/cooking school maestro could make a cake from scratch. At 12 he began his professional career, first learning to trim zee lambchops in a butcher shop, then braiding dough in a bread shop, and finally apprenticing in a restaurant. Before opening the Chef Jean-Pierre's Cooking School in Fort Lauderdale, he had been the proprietor for 20 years of Left Bank, one of South Florida's prime dispensers of delectable wine sauces and pouffe pastry.

Jean-Pierre still has the outrageous French accent and attitude, as well as the unpredictable sense of humor that makes every class a laugh session. There was this bit of wisdom for Jean-Pierre's charges recently: "Dose people at the Bennigan-again-agains ? they do not love you?they do not caramelize de on-yon."

New Times: Do you think you could you teach a kitchen-challenged dufus like me to cook French delicacies?

Jean-Pierre: I just believe that anybody is capable of becoming a phenomenal chef. There is only one way to slice an onion.

What's the big secret?

There are only 40 or 50 ingredients you use on a regular basis; if you learn how to handle those then you know how to cook!

Are there any exotic destinations that you would like to see that you haven't gone to yet?

I would love to go Australia. Of course, it's very English influenced and that's the problem. I don't know how good the food is going to be.

What's the coolest spy tool in your kitchen arsenal?

I have the coolest toy! It's a digital thermometer that shoots a ray of light, and it bounces back and gives the proper temperature. It is very, very cool. So you are now sure the temperature is 375 degrees by shooting this laser beam into your oil. It even looks like a gun.

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