October 29, 2003 by

Earl Peyroux


Categories: Media

Earl Peyroux, the former host of the nationally syndicated TV show, “Gourmet Cooking,” died on Oct. 23. Cause of death was not released. He was 78.

Born in New Orleans, Peyroux graduated from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. He studied under Julia Child and Paul Prudhomme and wrote seven cookbooks featuring Creole and French-inspired dishes.

Peyroux was teaching culinary arts at Pensacola Junior College in Florida when the campus public television station asked him to serve as the host of a cooking show in 1977. The show, “Gourmet Cooking,” was eventually picked up by PBS. It aired for 18 years and 600 episodes.

“People liked that he cooked an entire meal, made a mess and didn’t care; that he just seems so natural — he came across as a regular person,” said Liz Watkins, his producer and director.

Although he gave up the show about seven years ago, Peyroux had planned to produce a series of cooking tips for PBS in 2004.

50 Responses to Earl Peyroux

  1. Bob Frank

    I was one of the people that use to work on Gourmet Cooking back in the early 80’s. I remember Earl as one of the sweetest people i ever met. I was alwasy so much fun to work on his show because after we finished taping we got to eat what he had fixed.

  2. Gabrielle Smith

    Aw man, I’m just now hearing about ol’ Earl. In the early and mid ’80s I watched his show on PBS every Saturday. He always cooked HUGE quantities, like big giant casseroles and such. Used LOTS of salt, and butter, and everything looked so good. He’d look at the camera a lot, to see how much time he had. He will be missed. And I intend to buy one of his cookbooks to preserve his memory, and add to my voluminous cookbook collection. RIP, Earl Peyroux.

  3. will will

    I am just now getting around to finding out what happened to E.P; used to watch his show. The last season I saw he seemed to be failing. Too bad…
    I learned to cook by watching him. The way he demonstrated everything was great. Yeah, lots of salt and butter, great stuff. Made my kids watch him too. They used to make fun of me, but goddam if they’re not good cooks now too. Thanks Earl.

  4. Ron Meuse

    I first watched Earl in 1983. I was living in Va. Beach and I tried to never miss a show when it came on PBS. I Have one of his first books from the PBS series, published in 1982.
    What a great teacher he was,always explaining things and fixing things the way he was taught, in the French style.
    Thanks Earl, you’ll always be the best!!!!!

  5. Theodore Worozbyt

    Chef Earl, as we called him, and by “we” I mean the small but loyal group of afficionados who gathered Saturday afternoon to watch his show, always struck me as the kind of guy you would love to take out for a cold beer. My favorite thing about Chef Earl was his sense of humor about himself and about cooking. Like Julia Child, he had a way of making the worst sort of kitchen disaster a triumph of good humor and resourcefulness. What a nice man he was! A bien tot, Chef Earl, a bien tot.

  6. Theodore Worozbyt

    If anyone has knowledge of any way to get hold of tapings of his shows I would be very grateful for that information.

  7. roger and karen parham

    my wife and i never missed earl’s show even if we had to tape it for later viewing. i think he was the best there was. i was always afraid he wouldn’t get to finish a recipe but he alwaya made it. we wish someone in atlanta or the food channel would show his old shows. that would be wonderful. we miss him very much

  8. A Rippo

    You have no idea how happy I am to have found this website!! I thought I lost Earl forever!! I miss his shows so much. I learned so many things from watching him. He made everything look so easy, and he always cooked meals that had ingredients that the normal person would have in their kitchen, or that were easily attainable.
    I assumed that he passed on, but I didn’t know for sure until I found this site. I will miss him always, and I also think it would be a great idea if PBS or the Food Network would run his old shows.
    The reason I was searching for a website about Earl is that I would like to know if his cookbooks are still available for purchase. I CANNOT find them in any bookstores, much to my dismay. I would greatly appreciate any help you could offer. Thank you……

  9. Bill Ingolia

    Every once in awhile I would think about Earl, yet whenever I’d go on line, I’d forget to do the research! Now with Julia Child gone and just watching Food Network, I finally remembered! I miss the old guy! He would cook stuff your belly food without regard for calories, cholesterol or all the other stuff. I doubt if he was the favorite chef of the American Medical Assn. Sometimes as the programs progressed, I had my doubts if he’d be finished, but he somehow wound up with a mouth watering meal all the time. RIP Earl as we approach the first anniversary of your passing.

  10. E Faust

    Similarly, with the passing of Julia Child my thoughts turned to Chef Earl and my reminiscence led me here. I, too, enjoyed his show every Saturday for all those years. I still have recipes written down while he cooked and talked. My favorite is his Shrimp and Scallops Scampi, which I still prepare with great enjoyment at least a couple of times a year. In the process, I always find myself saying “OK, let’s clean up our board,” as I ponder the collection of bowls, pots and ingredients all over the place around me, and I think fondly of Earl’s Santa Claus smile, and his “A Bientot.”

  11. Mike F.

    Why Earl came into my mind as I sit here……I haven’t a clue. As many other Gourmet Cooking fans, I viewed his show religously. All of his cook books are proudly part of my collection. Fortunately I had the honor of meeting him in person at a book fair in Miami Florida where I purchased two of his books and had them autographed by Earl himself. All I can say is I’ll miss him and his memory will linger on in my mind forever

  12. Bill P

    I join a long list of the grateful who learned to cook with Chef Earl on PBS. His Alsacian Apple Tart is still my family’s favorite. I have boxes of tapes of Chef Earl and the “other culinary professors” of Saturday PBS. My sincere sympathies to the family who shared him with us and gratitude for his efforts to make good cooking fun!

  13. Cal R.

    I too was a huge fan of Earl’s show when I was stationed in Florida from 88′ to 91’…I made time every Sat to watch him on PBS….he seemed to have such a passion for food and cooking…at times it did seem like he wouldn’t finish , but he always managed to do so…I can still hear him describing food like “I’ll now slice and add some nice, juicy, luscious tomatoes”….watching his show sort of pulled me into doing more in the kitchen…his name popped into my mind occasionally and I finally did a search…my sympathies to his family and friends…Food Ntwrk withstanding, I can think of no cook I enjoy watching more than Earl Peyroux.

  14. Linda H.

    I was also a big fan of Mr. Peyroux and enjoyed watching his show as I tried to figure out how to cook. I have been thinking of him the past few years and finally realized I could use the internet to find out how he’s doing and what he’s been up to. I offer prayers and happy thoughts to his family. He brightened many of my days and I will miss him.

  15. Larry C.

    Very simply, Earl was my favorite cook all time. In the early 80’s, I could only cook grilled cheese or a hamburger. I watched Earl one Saturday prepare veal rolls stuffed with proscuito and homemade tomato soup. I duplicated those two dishes that night and they were great and I felt great. I can still hear Earl say,”oh my, I think we’ve burned the peppers.” What an outstanding guy, knowledgeable and lots of fun to watch.

  16. Martine Sullivan

    I am truly sad to learn that Earl Peyroux has died. I missed seeing his show, Gourmet Cooking, after his voice gave out due to some illness. I hope to find tapes of his shows. He was a charming man who obviously was passionate about good food and good cooking. I too wrote down recipes from his shows.
    Martine Sullivan

  17. Luanne Fant

    My husband and I loved watching Earl! We still get a kick thinking of him reaching for his “nice, fresh parmesan cheese”–and out comes the green can of Kraft!!! He was swell. We hate it that we didn’t save the shows. Are the tapes available to buy? We would love to have those shows!! We miss you, Earl.

  18. Tony E

    I am a very big fan of Earl’s. When I lived in NYC I used to tape his show from PBS as much as I could. When I moved to Las Vegas in ’95 they didn’t play his series there–I had to content myself with taped episodes. I just finished watching an episode I taped way back in ’92! I sure do miss him and really regret not buying all his cookbooks!!! Earl seemed so wonderful and down to earth and a wonderful cook as well. After reading all the nice tributes posted by others who loved him I KNOW he truly was a Southern gentleman. I’ll miss you Earl, RIP.

  19. frances ardito

    My husband learned to joy of cooking by watching Earl, bought all his cookbooks, and when he made any of the recipes we always had to invite 6 people for dinner since all the recipes are for 8…we remember him and miss him.

  20. Martha

    I loved Mr. Peyroux’s cooking show. I had a hard time finding any of Earl Peyroux’s cookbooks after his series went off the air. I searched every used book store I found thinking they would have some, I could find used books for all the other shows, but nobody seemed to want to let go of a “Gourmet Cooking” I thought that was a tribute to him and showed how much people enjoyed his recipes.

  21. Frank Black

    My weekends has always been so enjoyable watching those wonderul PBS cooking shows. No cook was better than Earl Peyroux, he seemed so passionate and he cooked so well. I can never thank him enough for all that I’ve learned about cooking. I knew about his death a few years ago but just found this tribute forum so I thought I’d pay my respects.
    My best to his family, I can only imagine your loss and may peace be with you. I can only imagine what Earl, Julia and Justin are cooking in heaven.

  22. Charlie

    I remember being home from work on a disability. I was going crazy until I started watching Mr. Peyroux’s show. He inspired me to cook and now I can say I am an accomplished cook. I am sad to hear of his passing and enjoyed all his books. My sympathy’s to his family and friends

  23. Ken Smith

    Having found this web site, I finally know what has become of Earl.His show was on Sat in my area and I would tape them and then on Sunday, my and I would make the meal.I watched him for years and years and miss him like an old friend.I know where ever he is, he’s still cookin’! Rest easy partner.Ken Smith,Northport,NY.

  24. Lee Ingham

    Earl Peyroux would make a pan of peas look like the most delicious food you ever saw. I always said “I would love to eat at Earl’s house”

  25. jennifer jones

    i just found this site, wondering what earl has been up to lately, so sad to see he has passed on. i know that saturdays were never complete without his delightful cooking shows, i learned alot from him and he is greatly missed. thank you Earl, for all of the great shows, i still watch them on my tapes. the people in heaven i am sure are eating well….

  26. Dick Applebaum

    My late wife Lucy and I ran across one of Earl’s cooking shows and we were instantly hooked… we bought all his books (though they were lost in a move).
    Lucy and I really enjoyed Earl, himself, as much as his fantastic recipes….
    …how he always managed to assemble his chopped ingredients in a bowl that was several sizes too small… with stuff falling out as he tried to mix the contents.
    …like the time he was cooking some exotic dish, and said: “Now, we add some Engine Beldive”. He cracked up as the camera rolled on.
    I read somewhere that the only preparation Earl did for a TV session was to have a glass or 2 of JD — a man after my own heart.
    Earl always had a twinkle in his eye… he will be missed, but remembered and appreciated.
    Dick Applebaum (and Lucy, too)

  27. Jan and Dave

    When we lived in Orlando, over twelve years ago, Earl Peyroux was on every Sunday morning, until he, sadly, became ill.
    We loved the show. He came off as a truly genuine person.
    Like Julia, if something seemed to go wrong he took it in stride. He made his craft seem natural, something we all could do.
    Purchased six of his books (did not know he published seven, will have to try to find it). And always bought a second copy for a second cousin who also loved him.
    Was just going through our cookbooks and pulled down one of his. I had forgotten how many wonderful recipes he put in each one. Have to start going through the books again.
    That was what prompted a Google, I had hoped to find him well.
    There have been many TV cooks since him, but none that I particularly remember with any fondness. He gave us some joy in life.
    Am very sorry to see him gone.

  28. gabriel hyppolite

    i loved Earl Peyroux’s and watching his TV cooking shows… i will always remember him, especially at the end of his shows when he served himself a nice glass of wine and and said a few words in french… and when he cooked there was plenty to eat in your plate … not like the nouvelle cuisine where your plate has four peas, a carrot and tiny peace of meat…
    well dear Earl may you rest in peace, and i know you are making your best dishes in heaven,
    and like his food , he was built for comfort…..

  29. Paula Berry

    During the mid 80’s and very early 90’s I provided private nursing care to a dear friend, Harriet. She was born in 1893 so she had great knowledge about food preservation, preparation and a real appreciation for delicious food and entertainment. At the age of 98, one of our special moments of the week was to watch Earl cook. I would go the grocery immediately after watching a program and duplicate the dinner for us that night.
    To this day I cherish the autographed copy of one of his books that he sent to my very best friend.
    As so many have expressed, I would love to purchase any taped shows available. Harriet passed away many years ago but to watch one of Earl’s cooking shows would bring tears of joy and bring back many wonderful memories.
    I know Harriet, along with so many who appreciate great food are eating very well with Earl in the kitchen!
    Lizzie, we sincerely appreciate all of the time and effort that your Uncle Earl exerted to help all of us be better cooks without fear. If we miss him this much without ever knowing him, your family must raise a glass to him with every great meal. He was a gifted man.
    Paula Berry

  30. Charles Blanchard

    I was fortunate to videotape several of his shows which I still have on VHS. I never really appreciated Earl Peyroux until I just watched some of those shows recently and they are really great. He cooked an entire meal, WITHOUT any fancy TV editing.. After almost 17 years of having those old tapes, I am finally going to start preparing some of the recipes and will buy all the books of Gourmet Cooking.

  31. James King

    I have been watching cooking shows on PBS for longer than I can remember. All of a sudden, Earl Peyroux disappears, Now it is 2007 and I thought of him. I simply entered his name as key words and here I am. I just found out that he had left the building in 2003 and I just wanted to let him know how much his shows contributed to my life. Thank you, Earl.

  32. Eileen Ammendolea

    As I was reading Julia Child’s biography, I suddenly remembered another great chef, Earl Peyroux. I learned so much every Saturday when he appeared on PBS. I wish they would run his old shows on the Food Channel. He was an inspiration.

  33. Grant Harding

    I watched Earl Peyroux every Sunday and have all his books but the last one. One time in the Atlanta Airport food court, I saw who I though was Chef Peyroux standing eating a sub sandwich. I went over to him and sure enough it was him. I told him I enjoyed his shows and was surprised to see him eating “junk food”. He said he really liked these sandwiches. He was returning from a meeting or show in New York and taking a lunch break. A very nice and talented man. When I asked for his autograph he was surprised I recognized him and happily signed a napkin. I still miss his no nonsense shows and was recently wondering what happened to him, found this site on the net. sad to learn he is no longer with us here on earth.

  34. Phillip Allison

    I remember watching Gourmet Cooking with my parents every Saturday. My mother, being a dietician, always was eager to see what food pairing he would come up with. My father and I would enjoy the entertaining, and often dry-witted way Chef Peyroux would prepare and present the dishes. Like so many of the other people posting comments on this website, I wish The Food Network or more PBS stations would air episodes of Gourmet Cooking. I believe that he would gain a stronger following than he used to have. He was a pleasure to watch. We even tried several of his dishes! A bien tot!

  35. Diane

    Started making Earl Peyroux’s Creole Turkey recipe way back when first saw him on tv and ordered his books–1 thru 6. It is, to this day, and by all accounts of very persnicknity family and friends, the absolutely BEST turkey they have ever eaten. Mom and I have, over the years, making it dozens of times, added or subtracted some miniscule component, however, turkey is somehow elevated to gourmet status because of this dear man’s master recipe. If you try it once, you will praise it forever. Sometimes, I’ve even left out the bell peppers and it just sings! You know how there are leftovers always and at every event involving a turkey?–Well, you won’t have any with this recipe. Anyway…love and light to you, Mr. Earl Peyroux, and a job well done. Sleep in peace. Diane

  36. Robert J Williams

    I watched Earl’s show on PBS. He and my mother taught me how much fun I could have behind a stove. No matter what Earl cooked on his Saturday show we enjoyed Him. He set my Sunday menu. And it is reported he loved some spirits, perhaps that is why he could hold up an apple and call it a cabbage. I still use his cookbooks a great deal of the time.

  37. Timothy Howard

    Chef Earl was one of my inspirations to be a chef. I would watch him, Jeff Smith, Justin Wilson, and Julia Childs all day on Sat. in the 80’s on PBS. I remember Chef Earl wearing glasses and light blue shirt and after cooking he would go sit at the table and pour some wine (red wine most times) and say something in french I think. The Food Network should do something special to let the world know that their were earlier cooking shows that would be something nice. Thanks for helping me know at an early age (8) what I wanted to be a chef on T.V. Well, half of that dream is true. Chef Timothy Howard

  38. Janet

    Does anybody know what his theme song at the end of each show was? I found him so endearing and I have recreated many of his dishes through the years. I would love if someone would post the name of that song. Thanks.

  39. Larry

    I saw where Amazon.com claims to have his books in stock. I worked with Earl, when he was in the data processing dept of an accounting firm, so he wasn’t just a chef.

  40. John

    I remember speaking to him long distance when one of his cook books didn’t come on time. What a gentleman and great chef. I learned to cook crawfish etoufee by watching Earl. I taped some 90 shows from 1980 onward. I also have his Two Hour Special on Creole Cooking. Compared to the cooking junk shows out there today which teach you nothing, Earl, like Julia, was a giant among TV chefs. A Bientot Earl. Rest in peace.

  41. Lizzie Peyroux

    It has almost been 6 years. All of your comments make my heart swell. As always, we wish we had spent more time with our loved ones. I was only able to see him in the summers as I grew up. He did cook us dinner and it was always amazing. Eating at his house was like eating in a fine restaurant.
    Paula, thank you for your kind words. He truly was an amazing man.
    Jerry, please know I have tried to get in touch with you. Please contact me if you read this.
    – Lizzie Peyroux

  42. L. Ebert

    It has been a long time now since his death but lately I have been thinking back on how I would have my little TV sitting on my kitchen counter and I would watch Earl and cook at the same time. Very fond memories. I loved his personal style and style of cooking as well. I miss his gravelly voice and his french farewell at the end of the show. How sad that he is gone…..

  43. Tony Fasano

    I think I watched all of Earl’s shows on PBS. His recipe for Zucotto cake remains in my family cooking library to this day and I make it still on special occasions and the Christmas Holidays.
    I’d love to see PBS show reruns of his shows. Rest in Peace and God Bless to a fine gentleman.

  44. Dee Shaw

    I have loved Earl Peyroux since the first time I saw his show. I have two of his cookbooks and just pulled one out to make his bread pudding tomorrow. That prompted me to google him and see how he was doing. I was saddened to learn of his death. I noticed the absence of his show and his huge weight loss upon his return. Too, his voice was “different”. By far, he was the best chef ever to grace the airwaves of PBS.
    Dee Shaw

  45. chris

    I did not know he passed but did notice his show was gone. He is one of the chefs I tell people to go look for his books if they want to learn to cook. Of all the chefs on TV it is my personal belief that he, along with Julia, and a few others ONLY on PBS really taught you stuff.

    We never had cable until 9-11, so when I did get it I checked out food channel(s). I find myself watching PBS cooking shows more then anything (in relation to food info programming).

    They should bring back his show in reruns as they are (like several others) timeless, and tasty.



  46. Kyle

    My earliest childhood memories were Saturday morning cartoons and then turning to PBS to watch Earl, Yen, Jeff Smith, Julia and whoever would be on that afternoon. These were the cooks that influenced me to become a chef myself. RIP Earl, you’ll always be a part of my cooking

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