Searching for a CHEF TELL Feature Film or TV Documentary

1 Jul

A CHEF TELL Feature Film or TV Documentary Makes Sense

If the Julia Child film made money at the box office (it did), a movie about a contemporary of Child, whose fan base was 8X larger than Child’s, could also do well, n’est pas?

My timely, five-star CHEF TELL biography recounts the fascinating life story of one of America’s culinary icons… at a time when chefs on TV dominate television air time and the viewing public’s interest.

In fact, the first chef to get a star on Hollywood Boulevard happened in June. (Bobby Flay).

Built-In Audience “Field of Dreams,” if you produce it, people will come; people will most definitely come. Chef Tell’s fan base of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers – a prime audience demographic today – will come and buy at the box office, because this chef was THEIR GUY!!

So… who knows a stalwart, perceptive company or group with the means to make the movie or TV documentary happen?

Book, eBook or AudioBook

Read the hardcover or eBook edition, or listen to the AudioBook. Pick up on

Or PM me for details about CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, by Ronald Joseph Kule, forewords by TV hosts REGIS PHILBIN and CHEF WALTER STAIB. Published by Skyhorse Publishing, NYC.

* * * * *

© 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. Reserved.

Amazon & the CHEF TELL Biography

4 Jun

A Good Book Rising

CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef

Lately, the book has been rising on the charts in ranking.  All on its own.  I do not know why.  Maybe people are reading it, trying out the recipes inside, and telling others about the incredible life of a German child who wanted to cook for the world… and did.

As the author of the book, I’m grateful for the following.  The all-five-stars comments and reviews posted to date are also appreciated.

This biography took two and a half years of my life to research and write, but the close relationship with the (late) chef — some kind of spiritual connection — made the hard hours and the multiple highs and lows worth the effort.

Like others who knew him better than I, I miss Chef Tell.  But his public misses the jocular TV personality; what I miss is the man, Friedemann Paul Erhardt, who cooked breakfast for me one time only… and made me feel special, so special that I had to write his life story when no one else stepped up to give the man his due as one  of America’s true culinary and television icons.

Chef Tell’s name and star should have been the first on Hollywood Boulevard (No disrespect to Bobby Flay’s recent accomplishment).  But for the high cost of the donation associated with getting a star — tens of thousands of dollars, he would have been the first and best choice.  After all, every TV chef currently in vogue owes their biggest tips of their toques to Chef Tell, because Tell blazed a trail no one ever had walked from the kitchen before : syndicated television appearances, Womens’ Shows cooking demonstrations, and scores of guest appearances on major TV shows of his era, including LIVE! with Regis & Kathy Lee.

Books Make Booms

chef-tell-tells-all-hermie-kranzdorf-paperback-cover-artMost don’t know that Chef Tell was also a best-selling author.  That’s because his cookbooks sold more than 200,000 copies.  If you used fresh ingredients and followed the Master Chef’s instruction, you could taste at home what over 40,000,000 Baby Boomers adored: Chef Tell’s cooking.

julia child cookbookJulia Child was his contemporary, and her fame rose because of a book and her personality.  Chef Tell’s fan base was reportedly EIGHT TIMES LARGER than Child’s, but today younger generations know Child because of the recent movie performed by Meryl Streep.  But the biography of Chef Tell reads like an emotional roller-coaster ride, making it a candidate for a very interesting movie!

Anyone out there in Hollywood want to take out an option to produce the film?  Baby Boomers would love to see it!

Since then the Chef Tell biography has been published to rave, five-star reviews. As mentioned above, this “evergreen” (endless) story has taken on a life of its own. for author-signed book copies

© 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule, KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

(NOTE to Non-Commercial Bloggers and Media: Permission to reprint and/or re-blog this article and its images is hereby granted as long as full attribution and a link to the original blog is prominently displayed.)

How to Make A Celebrity TV Chef

23 Apr

 Excerpted from:

CHEF TELL the Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef


“Rezepte sind nur Rezepte … im Rahmen des Zumutbaren Sie sie ändern können.”

(“Recipes are only prescriptions … within reason you can change them.”)

— Chef Tell“The recipe for making a star-bound chef/restaurateur goes like this:

First, rise with the morning twilight. Visit the fish, meat and produce markets daily to ensure your menu and daily ingredients are as fresh as possible. Chastise your vendors, if needed, for quality slippage in your last order; yet, make them feel like they are part of your success.

Second, walk several miles daily within the same four walls. Regularly add water, salt, chicken stock and splashes of wine to foods and to yourself. Even though you know it will take a toll on your body, taste everything you cook.

Third, ensure that your kitchen wait staffs arrive on time, prepared and sober. Mix in your waitpersons, bartenders, hostesses and accountants. Keep them honest with your cash register – every day.

Fourth, bring the first, second and third steps to a boil by simmering under low heat in the first few hours of the day. Gradually turn up the heat.

Fifth, repeat the routine 312* days a year, year after year, despite how you feel, as long as you make your patrons happy. (* Six days a week)

Sixth, (optional) add a pinch of television and media notoriety to the slew of photos with celebrities draped around you on your walls. Voila! A celebrity chef is born.

For super-star ranking, add one more requisite: “Culinary genius: the capacity to take consumable ingredients and envision them into remarkable, repurposed foods, flavors and presentations; the capacity to be ‘avant-garde,’ innovative, iconoclastic, visionary and … in the case of Chef Tell … funny.” (Author’s definition)

Remember, superstar chefs never follow rules; they make their own.

Who was Chef Tell?

The night Friedemann Paul Erhardt (later to be known worldwide as “Chef Tell”) was born, bombs dropped and hunger was a constant. When suicide took his mother, and his brother was separated from him, he became a cook’s commis at 13½. For the rest of his life he was forced to work his way out of one predicament into the next, and then out of the next into another, as he blazed a trail on which other chefs would walk.

No chef-by-the-numbers road map existed in his era. Up to his time, master chefs, for the most part, stayed hermetically inside of their kitchens; yet, he ventured outside where very few – from America only James Beard and Julia Child – ever tread…

Erhardt credited his TV superstardom to his mother, Giesela Gerber Erhardt. Her lessons, born of post-war necessity and the lack of pre-schooling in those days, enabled him to reach a nationwide audience in America and then internationally.  He entertained and taught TV viewers how to cook like his mother.

He soldiered his way to the top of his profession, becoming at 27 the youngest master chef in German history. He championed foods and food-product innovations, which today are considered staples in any kitchen, commercial or private.

The Lure of Two Worlds, the Best and the Worst

The enticing sights, sounds, smells and flavors; the excesses of fortune, fame and connection … excited his imagination.  His world of cooking ran white-hot active – full of innovation, opportunity and competitive challenge. A melting pot of fresh ingredients, newly acquired acquaintances and creative culinary challenges, made for a live-action reality show played out on themed stages. Cooking, for Erhardt, was nothing less than, “Showtime, folks!”

outside the Manor House restaurant 2007

He possessed talents to cook and teach on television that were extraordinary. Fires that burned others were mere sparks on the tail of the energy that propelled Erhardt’s comet. He never stopped thinking about new ingredient combinations, improved ways to cook and innovative cookware. Curious as a child, he sought and unearthed better ways to please more palates, which he then shared with America.

Fernand Point, elite Master Chef and the “Godfather of Modern Cuisine” wrote,

“As far as cuisine is concerned, one must read everything, see everything, hear everything, try everything, observe everything, in order to retain in the end, just a little bit.”

Erhardt pursued “everything” from sunrise to bedtime for a lifetime.

In the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, Chef Tell performed on television screens in over 200 cities as 40,000,000 people watched weekly. But, for most, he was only the man behind the apron, the moustache and the smile, who told us, showed us, how to live through our taste buds.

Vulnerable, Like Us

     The man Friedemann Paul Erhardt was as vulnerable as the rest of us, as imperfect as any of us.  His extraordinary lifetime, for better or worse, ran a mercurial course. When he won, he broke off pieces of his good-fortune cookie and shared them with everyone he liked, even though some took advantage of him in return. When he lost, he lost big-time, making mistakes and enemies under the powerful magnifying glass of the media.

Erhardt might have succeeded in any profession but he had a passion to cook for people and to make them laugh.

     “If you are not a generous person you cannot be in this field,” wrote Fernand Point, trainer to a generation of French master chefs, which included Erhardt’s contemporaries.

Possessed with unusual charm and charisma – a joie de vivre that set him apart from the crowd, Erhardt mingled well with queens, kings, politicians, housewives, janitors, lawyers, musicians; men, women and children, celebrated or uncelebrated.

In a sense, Tell Erhardt’s life defines ours. How he conquered the long odds and devastating barriers that he faced helps us to navigate our minefields. With him in mind, we realize anew that even the biggest of our dreams, if nurtured and continued, can and will come true.

If truth were told, in the culinary arts, as in the art of living, excellent sustained achievement is accomplished only by superb execution of details in the face of harsh realities.  Chef Tell’s life is the perfect template for us to examine that notion.

Skimping will not do, where a five-star experience is desired.  We must, therefore, start at the beginning.

Philadelphia Inquirer promotion

Philadelphia Inquirer  promotional photo

© 2012, 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

How to Overcome Barriers Toward Known Goals

11 Mar

A Life Story of the Pursuit of Happiness

How To Overcome Barriers Toward Known Goals

(A Life Story of the Pursuit of Happiness)

Friedemann Paul Erhardt, when asked by Art Moore*, “What will be your TV persona?” before he went on television for the first time, replied, “Just call me ‘Chef Tell,’ and in that moment he created the pioneer TV showman chef, a role to be played out by a long line of chefs joining a cavalcade of American TV personalities that is the most popular genre on the medium in 2015.

In doing so, Chef Tell evoked memories from his early childhood.  Erhardt had grown up in post-war Germany.  He survived days and nights without food, or with meager supplies.  He discovered he liked to help his mother in the kitchen at the early age of six.  A few years later, she told him, “If you become a chef, you will never go hungry.”  At the tender age of 13, he dedicated his lifetime to the profession, hoping to do justice to his mother’s foresight.

A Master Chef at 27

Erhardt was also Germany’s youngest Master-Chef graduate by 1970, the year he won the Culinary Olympics Gold Medal by leading a team of chefs to the Gold Medal.  Two years later, he arrived in America, and the rest, as they say, is history, because Chef Tell became America’s pioneer TV showman chef, a moniker formally bestowed upon him by Philadelphia Inquirer Food Writer Elaine Tait, who also reminded her readers that “Chef Tell’s food always tastes good.”

Tait’s loyal disciples flocked to his Philadelphia-area restaurants whenever he opened one in between his TV-show tapings and media tours and appearances across our land.  Chef Tell, you see, packed as many as 20,000 into public venues in a weekend.  They came to watch him demonstrate how to prepare fresh foods and cook them simply and quickly, as he quipped his way into their hearts and made them laugh and buy his wares.

About that TV persona name?  In childhood school days in Germany, Erhardt had performed the lead role in the play William Tell, and he had done such an admirable turn that his classmates started to call him ‘Tell.”

An Invitation to a Great Read

outside the Manor House restaurant 2007

outside the Manor House restaurant 2007

Although Friedemann Paul Erhardt’s celebrity lifetime was a complicated and tumultuous journey, it makes for an excellent, five-star read for bookies and foodies.  You see, he did accomplish at least two of his most cherished goals with panache.

Tell’s friends miss his cooking and continue to miss him, but now his biography followers wish they, too, could have been there when this culinary icon’s star-comet splashed across the media.

“Tell never forgot that he was the guest … never took over his segments from the host, and that added to his genuineness. While too many people work too hard to ‘be in,’ Tell naturally was ‘on.’
This book gives you so much: a taste of Tell, the person, and his taste for delicious food.”

—Art Moore, Executive in Charge of Production for LIVE! with Kelly & Michael

American culinary icon Chef Tell, aka Friedemann Paul Erhardt, IS America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef!

(*AUTHOR’S NOTE: Art Moore “discovered” Chef Tell.)

© 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

Readers Agree, 5 Stars: “CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef”

4 Feb

About the Chef Tell Biography Helpful Customer Reviews:

Chef Tell Is a Masterpiece

“This is a well written, hold-your-interest book that is never dull. The subject, Chef Tell, was a larger than life figure and this book captures that persona. You get the good, the bad and the ugly but after all isn’t that what we want to know about our celebrities? When you purchase this book you also get the recipes for one of Chef Tell’s 7 course meals. What a treat! This is a great read even if you did not know Chef Tell in his prime. You come to know him and love/hate him as you journey through his life across the globe. In the end, I wound up loving him despite his faults in life.”
— Linda

Foodies, chefs and restaurateurs: this book Is delicious

“Fans of the Cooking Channel, as well as those who are making cooking their profession, may find this book the perfect companion to their morning coffee. It opens the door to a rarified world—-the high end of cooking: the rites of passage that make a world-class chef and restaurateur.

“We watch ‘Chopped’ and all the other cooking shows on TV and hear the famous chefs make their pronouncements regarding the transformations of the contents of mystery baskets. But what we don’t hear is how these judges, and every other Cooking Channel chef, got there: the thousands of hours each one of them spent perfecting their arts, and the unique challenges they overcame in order to rise to their current positions. And until now, we haven’t heard the story of the person whose shoulders they are standing on: the original TV showman chef, Chef Tell.

“Chef Tell was a chef’s chef, beloved in the world of chefs because he was a big man with a generous heart who could, very simply, cook great food. More than that, he was a man of boundless energy, relentless pursuit of competence and correct discernment of opportunities as they presented themselves. He had the courage of a pioneer, the soul of a teacher and the charisma of a star, which is what he became.

“Kule’s book shows us a man who rose from nothing, driven by the simple statement of his mother during the dire poverty of wartime: ‘You will never go hungry, if you become a chef.’ The narrative is rich in detail gleaned from interviews with those who knew him personally, without bogging down into a dry recitation of facts. The relationships brought to life in the story give us a real sense of connection with the man himself.” Read more ›

“It reads like a real-life novel. I was surprised by the excellent writing ability of the author. Not only is it a chronological account of the life of one of the world’s greatest chefs and pioneer TV chef showman, it’s a series of word pictures that ties together the complexities of each aspect of Chef Tell’s life and career. It’s a ‘Must Read’ for all Foodies especially aspiring TV cook or chef.
— Chef Charles Knight

Chef Tell – The Legend

“My wife and I were good friends with Chef Tell and we have been looking forward to reading this book. Ron really bought Chef Tell back to life and accurately portrayed his incredible life’s story, warts and all. Chef Tell was an amazing character and the people whose lives he touched will remember him fondly. Thanks for reminding me what a great guy Chef Tell was and how lucky we were to be a part of his story. I am quite sure that Tell would have approved of Ron’s version of his life’s journey and he would have loved reading this book. Thanks for the memories of a great human being. We just wish we could still ‘… see you!'”
— Tony Baarda

I approached this book without knowing anything about Chef Tell …

“I approached this book without knowing anything about Chef Tell and was pleasantly surprised. It’s an enjoyable book about a chef’s chef and an entertaining read for all Foodies and recipe historians. What I found interesting is insight to the progression of cooking shows on TV. It’s an entertaining and well written book.”
— Vicki

Great read about a very interesting man!

“What an interesting and true story by an incredible story teller. Now I will admit that I had never heard of nor seen Chef Tell before this author’s introduction yet I found myself turning the pages with an avid interest. Ron Kule writes about him in such a way that I could not help but feel I knew the Chef personally.”
— Diane Austin
Chef Tell hi-res cover

Facebook page about Chef Tell

29 Dec

What Is a White Coat Chef? (Why Do Master Chefs Wear White Coats?)

20 Dec


William_Orpen_Le_Chef_de_l'Hôtel_Chatham,_Paris“Chefs’ clothing remains a standard in the food industry. The tradition of wearing this type of clothing dates back to the mid-19th century.

Marie-Antoine Careme, a popular French chef, is credited with developing the current chef’s uniform. The toques (tall white hats) were already used, but he sought a uniform to honor the chef. White was chosen for the chef’s coat to signify cleanliness.

“Later, the French master chef, Georges Auguste Escoffier, brought the traditional chef’s coat to London, managing the restaurants at the Savoy Hotel and then at the Carlton Hotel.

“Chefs wear cooking aprons for several reasons; one is that they deal with a variety of food ingredients for many hours each day and have to have a means of keeping their clothing free from dirt, stains and odors.” (excerpted from Wikipedia re: chefs’ uniforms)

Friedemann Paul Erhardt — CHEF TELL — was a Master Chef from Germany, who became America’s pioneer TV showman chef in the 1970’s. His celebrity spanned decades. His story is captured in the biography available online and in bookstores worldwide, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, by Ronald Joseph Kule, forewords by TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib. Published by Skyhorse Publishing (NYC). (Recipes included.)


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