Julia Child—first and foremost a journalist—attended France’s premier cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. She co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961. From February 1963, she was an in-the-kitchen TV personality and she won Peabody and Emmy awards. While Child’s emphasis was upon French cooking, Chef Tell, also an Emmy Award winner, brought through syndicated TV not only German, but also French, Continental, and American cuisines to an audience eight times the size of Child’s. Additionally, he toured the nation, doing live shows that brought thousands of paying customers and fans to his booths.
Child and Erhardt were ebullient TV personalities, which struck agreeable chords with the American audience. Yet, Tell was the first
“rock-star” chef, according to former Philadelphia Inquirer food writer extraordinaire, Elaine Tait. She described Chef Tell’s masterful skills:
“Tell was the first of the great TV showman chefs and the only one whose food actually tasted good. He rivaled Julia Child.”
Child and Tell shared a common philosophy regarding food: one should not fear it. “I take the fear out of cooking. You should play with your food,” Tell emphasized to his audiences in the 1970s. Borrowing from Erhardt, Child stated in a 1990 interview, “If fear of food continues, it will be the death of gastronomy in the United States.”
Common threads exist among all legendary chefs. They naturally have, or through training develop, a passion for food and for cooking for others. They possess skilled culinary knowledge, which allows them to control the kitchen environment and its outcomes to a precise degree.
They suffer hardships, overcome obstacles, and still approach both food and living with decidedly unserious attitudes.
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