Many are familiar with James Beard from his columns and books, or perhaps the eponymous foundation, founded in his memory, whose mission is “to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.”
A new documentary, James Beard: America’s First Foodie, tells the incredible tale of his life and gives Beard the credit he is due.
Decades ahead of his time, Beard hosted the first cooking show on TV in 1946, before most Americans even had televisions. He was a taste maker, a true original, the author of dozens of cookbooks, an educator, the first to create a seasonal restaurant menu, and an advocate of local, sustainable, and American food. There is no way to imagine the food world as it is today without his pioneering contributions.
James Beard introduced Julia Child to New York, boosting her place as a culinary grande dame. Child in turn once said, “I may have brought French cooking to America, but Jim brought American cooking to America.”
Filled with luminaries from the culinary scene, the documentary paints a picture of a witty raconteur with a huge capacity for enjoying life.
If you missed the May 19th premiere on PBS, you can watch the hour-long film at pbs.org. We highly recommend it!
Without James Beard, there would be a very different food culture in America today. As a contributor to that culture, D’Artagnan has been supportive of the James Beard Foundation, and we fondly recall the great party at the James Beard House during our 25th anniversary celebration. Ariane, our founder and owner, is proud to be a JBF Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America winner, and a member of the Awards Committee.