Chow Bella

Jacques Pépin and Barbara Fenzl Cook Southwestern Cuisine on PBS

If you love cooking shows that focus on teaching -- not drama -- you're in for a real treat at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 4.

That's when Eight, Arizona PBS premieres Jacques Pépin Cooks for Eight, a two-hour cooking special starring world-famous French chef Jacques Pépin and Arizona's own culinary celebrity Barbara Pool Fenzl.

The longtime friends will come together in the Eight Kitchen before a live audience to prepare recipes combining classic French cooking technique with Southwestern ingredients.

A few of the many dishes the two will demonstrate include crab cakes with avocado salsa, poblano chile and smoked salmon toasts, and a double chocolate ancho chile and almond tart.

Drooling yet? If anyone can remind us that Southwestern Cuisine is alive and well and deserving of a respected place in the regional cooking pantheon, it's these two seasoned cooks and instructors.

Here are a few other reasons you won't want to miss the show.

Southwestern Cuisine is familiar terrain for Fenzl, who authored Southwest: The Beautiful Cookbook in 1994 and hosted the 13-week PBS television series Savor the Southwest (produced by Eight and distributed nationally) in 1999.

As the founder of Les Gourmettes, Phoenix's most successful private cooking school, Fenzl has hosted Pépin in her kitchen many times, just as she has Arizona's Southwestern cuisine legends Janos Wilder and Vincent Guerithault.

Pépin, who has served as personal chef to French heads of state and written over a dozen cookbooks, is well known (and much loved) for his playful, down-to-earth teaching style.

You can watch his antics with America's most beloved TV cooking instructor Julia Child, on this tribute video, shown at the 4th Annual New York City Wine & Food Festival in 2011. Pépin was honored at a special dinner there.

Cooking enthusiasts also might want to follow Pépin's "Celebrity Takeover" of Eight's Facebook page at

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Nikki Buchanan