James Beard – American chef
James Andrews Beard was an American cook, cookbook author, teacher and television personality. Beard was a champion of American cuisine who taught and mentored generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts.
Born: May 5, 1903, Portland, Oregon, USA
Died: January 21, 1985, New York City, New York, USA
Cause of Death: Heart failure
Height: 6’3″ (1.91m)
Parents: Elizabeth Brennan Beard, John Beard
Anointed the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954, James Beard laid the groundwork for the food revolution that has put America at the forefront of global gastronomy. He was a pioneer foodie, host of the first food program on the fledgling medium of television in 1946, the first to suspect that classic American culinary traditions might cohere into a national cuisine, and an early champion of local products and markets. Beard nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors who have changed the way we eat.
In 1940, Beard penned what was then the first major cookbook devoted exclusively to cocktail food, Hors d’Oeuvre & Canapés. In 1942 he followed it up with Cook It Outdoors, the first serious work on outdoor cooking. Beard spent the war years with a brief stint in cryptography, but he primarily served with the United Seamen’s Service, setting up sailors’ canteens in Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, Marseilles, and Panama.
Between 1945 and 1955 he wrote several seminal cookbooks (click Here for a complete list).
He contributed articles and columns to Woman’s Day, Gourmet, and House & Garden
Served as a consultant to many restaurateurs and food producers
Ran his own restaurant on Nantucket
He became the focal point of the entire American food world.
The sheer force of James Beard’s personality and passions have propelled the James Beard Foundation to the forefront of American gastronomy. While he was alive, James Beard always welcomed students, authors, chefs, and other food and beverage professionals into his home—his kitchen was truly at the heart of America’s burgeoning 20th century food scene. On November 5, 1986, the James Beard Foundation officially opened the James Beard House “to provide a center for the culinary arts and to continue to foster the interest James Beard inspired in all aspects of food, its preparation presentation, and of course, enjoyment,” according to a press release issued that day. Calvin Trillin presided over an opening ceremony that welcomed Jacques Pépin, Judith Jones, Larry Forgione and other culinary world luminaries who had been touched and inspired by Beard.
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