Happy Chef Blogging Friday!
James Beard (May 5, 1903 – January 21, 1985) was an American chef and food writer.
His family operated a small hotel in the Pacific Northwest, and he was exposed to a tremendous variety of foods native to that region as a child. He trained initially as a singer and actor, and moved to New York City in 1937. Not having much luck in the theater, he and a friend tried to capitalize on the cocktail party craze by opening a catering company, "Hors D'Oeuvre" and published his first cookbook Hors D'Oeuvre and Canapes, a compilation of his catering recipes.
Rationing difficulties in World War II brought his catering business to its end. In 1946 he appeared on the first cooking show ever televised, "I Love to Eat" on NBC, and thus began his rise as an eminent American food authority.
Over the next forty years James Beard operated a cooking school out of his apartment in New York, wrote dozens of books on cooking and food, and hundreds of articles on food for many different magazines.
By many, James Beard is recognized as the father of American gastronomy. Throughout his life, he pursued and advocated the highest standards, and served as a mentor to emerging talents in the field of the culinary arts.
After Beard's death in 1985, Julia Child had the idea to preserve his home in New York City as the gathering place it was throughout his life. The late Peter Kump, a former student of Beard's and the founder of the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump's New York Cooking School), spearheaded the effort to purchase the house and create the James Beard Foundation.
Recently the James Beard Foundation has been the "recipe for scandal" and near financial collapse.
The James Beard Awards were recently handed out....go check out some of the winners! (congrats to one of our faves, Super Mario!)