Archive | July, 2013

New Book releases

31 Jul

Syndicated television was breaking out like a rash all over America in the 1970’s, and Baby Boomers were tuning in to watch segments on TV shows like Evening Magazine and P. M. Magazine.

America in that time got its first look at a beefy, brash, but lovable German-American chef who talked fast, told jokes fast and taught home cooking tips in 90 seconds… how to make food taste good: CHEF TELL, America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef.

No one had ever seen anyone like Tell, because no other chef had blazed the trail ahead of him. Chef Tell was the pioneer.

Within months, 40 million Baby Boomers were among his fan base, imitating his phrases, which were fast becoming as famous as the chef himself, “You do like this, do like that…” “Very nice, very easy…” and his promising sign -off, “I SEE YOU!”

The Boomers never knew “the rest of the story” until now.

On October 1st, Skyhorse Publishing of New York City, will release the new book CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, written by Ronald Joseph Kule, forewords by Emmy-winning, TV hosts, Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib (PBS’s TV series A Taste of History).

The new book includes text, photos, new recipes and DVD offers.

“Chef Tell made cooking on TV the new frontier.  He did it with humor, a thick German accent and was rather bossy.  ‘Let me show you how to cook this,’ he would say.  He showed, we learned, we laughed. I am honored to be a part of the book!”Jan Yanehiro, First Co-Host, Evening Magazine, San Francisco.

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

27 Jul

Before Julia… before Wolfgang, Paul, Emeril, Jacques, Bobby, Mario, Gordon, Rachel, Jamie, Martin, James, Charlie, Thomas, Anthony and Sara and Cat*… there was Chef Tell!

“Tell started all this television madness about chefs.” – Regis Philbin

If bombs raining on Stuttgart and empty years of near-starvation had not killed him; if family opposing his dream to cook for others could not deter him; if ducking the crush of physical blows, verbal zingers and pots and pans from fiery, kitchen mentors never dissuaded him and his mother’s suicide had not dashed his creative outlook toward living or his spirited bravado… the simple task of winning an outdoor park audition for a cooking slot on a TV show would not deny Friedemann Paul Erhardt his place in culinary history:

Empty-handed, Tell steps up to his mark, faces the camera and uses his wit, personality and imagination alone to win the contest, birthing a whole new breed of television star: the TV showman chef.

“Chef Tell” is America’s pioneer TV showman chef.  Within weeks, he appears on-air in 30 cities. Within months, 40,000,000 avid fans in 114 cities—approximately eight times the viewing audience of his contemporary Julia Child—tune in to Evening Magazine or PM Magazine to watch him perform his 90-second, cooking segments, three times a week.  The day after, water-cooler conversationalists and radio talk-show hosts across America mimic his lines. Personal appearances on the Mike Douglas Show; the Dinah Shore Show; the Merv Griffin Show, the Jon Davidson Show, and live cooking demonstrations in shopping malls and convention centers, add fuel to the German-American prairie fire that is sweeping the nation.

No one has ever seen anyone like him: Chef Tell cooks fast, entertains, teaches and makes America feel confident enough to try cooking his way.  A cavalcade of fan mail, more than 1,000 letters daily, blossoms into 14,000 pieces of mail weekly.  Excited crowds cheer him at airports and laugh at his live-show quips.  In Capitol Center in Baltimore, Maryland, he draws 20,000 people to his five cooking shows on one weekend.

PM Magazine gushes over their new “rock-star chef,” which in 95 percent of their syndicated outlets draws up to 50-percent market share. Detroit’s Kelly & Company conducts a “Chef Tell Look-Alike” contest, and local stations in Greensboro, Dallas and other cities and towns follow suit.

Tell’s appeal—ruggedly masculine yet comfortable in the kitchen—crosses gender and generational lines of television viewers.  Kids think he is the Swedish Chef from Sesame Street.  Twenty and thirty-year-old, female and male home cooks swoon over his engaging style and simple recipes.

“If a housewife, or man, sees me do something in 90 seconds they figure they can make it in five minutes,” Tell says, adding, “Most recipes are over-complicated anyway.  You see recipes in Gourmet Magazine… five of the ingredients are out of the country and three more you can’t find!”

Amazingly, Tell has no clue as to how extensive his influence is: “All of a sudden, everybody knows me, everybody’s my friend,” writes Erhardt to a friend, “I just can’t believe it.”

Yet, for all the glamour and glory of the Chef Tell public persona, Tell Erhardt suffers an inner lack of peace and understanding. The scars of his childhood and his mother’s ignominious suicide drive him through three restaurants—one on Grand Cayman Island, which he promotes on numerous appearances on LIVE! with Regis & Kathy Lee, two marriages, another suicide, sporadic drug use and clandestine sexual conquests before he finds the two measures of personal happiness that he has sought all along: an honest and loyal love from a woman he can trust implicitly and love boundlessly, and the production of his own syndicated television show (after turning down, on the legal advice of another, The Food Network’s historic, first contract offer).

When a new breeze catches the mainsail of his storied career vessel, and he opens two more restaurants that flourish, tragedy strikes.  Two untimely falls lead to ill health, lawsuits, marital strife and a (fortunate) discovery of a diabetic condition.

But Tell recovers everything. He kicks his medications and manhandles his diabetes with dietary changes and exercise. He loses 100 pounds, rehabilitates his marriage and begins research on his sixth cookbook—one was a 230,000-copy best-seller—loaded with diabetic recipes. In the Kitchen with Chef Tell airs on PBS locally, pulls high ratings and gets picked up on syndication.  His public remembers him.  Once again they tune in to watch and be entertained. Requests for recipes jam station mailboxes ten years after he left the mainland for Grand Cayman. Redemption is right around the corner!

But on Friday morning, October 26, 2007, Tell never reaches his cooking class at Chestnut Hill College. Instead, he collapses and dies alone at home, surrounded by family photos, and the tokens and tributes of his many accomplishments. Bunny, Tell’s wife, already informed of his passing, will return from her business trip late that night in a driving rain storm.

The next day messages of surprise, shock and reminiscence flood the internet, including this: “Chef Tell has died? Stick a fork in him, he’s done.”

Chef Tell would have loved that.

(* Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, Bobby Flay, Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsey, Rachel Ray, Jamie Oliver, Martin Yan, James Scott, Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, Anthony Bourdain, Sara Moulton and Cat Cora…)

Chef Tell in Grand Cayman Islands

Chef Tell in Grand Cayman Islands

Master Chef, Bad Boy

16 Jul

CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef shows us not only the perfect personality for TV cooking appearances in front of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers, but also the quick-witted perfectionist who demanded only the freshest ingredients for food, fortune, fame and women. An absorbing account of an extraordinary man, CHEF TELL surprises and horrifies with its emotional and intellectual tugs-of-war, which reveal the personal and professional highs, lows and glorious successes of Philadelphia magazine’s “affably roguish Bad Boy of the Philadelphia restaurant world,” explaining why so many loved or hated Chef Tell then but today miss him dearly.

Now available in pre-release. Release set for October 1, 2013.

© 2013 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

40,000,000 Baby Boomers made up Chef Tell's fervent fan base

40,000,000 Baby Boomers made up Chef Tell’s fervent fan base

Ketchup and Anchovies?

5 Jul

I’m feeling like fireworks and Heinz Ketchup* today, the 5th of July.

Of course, we celebrated our nation’s freedom yesterday, and there were fireworks on display across the nation. But today we are 57 days away from the release of the late CHEF TELL’s biography. He was America’s pioneer TV showman chef… America’s first “rock-star” TV chef.

Having written the book — forewords by TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib — I can tell you it is a timeless tale of one man’s overcoming odds and obstacles toward his cherished goal, which makes it a fascinating life-lessons book for anyone, teens and older. Baby Boomers will really love it… 40 million of them were his fans in the 1970s and 80s!

Chef Tell loved to play with food, and he told his audiences the same thing, which Julia Child mimicked years later. Actually, at times, he recommended plain ketchup on salads with anchovies.

*Heinz Ketchup: “57 Varieties”… the story behind the slogan:

Heinz 57 varieties, one of America's best-known ad slogans

Heinz 57 varieties, one of America’s best-known ad slogans

“The number 57 has mystical significance to the Heinz company, but it has never had much to do with reality. The slogan was invented by the company’s founder, Henry J. Heinz, during a ride on the New York elevated in 1892. While he was reading the car cards on the ceiling, Heinz’s eye alighted on the slogan “21 styles of shoes.” To pedestrian minds such as our own this probably doesn’t sound like one of your killer advertising mottoes, but that’s why we’re not millionaire ketchup barons. Heinz could recognize genius when he saw it. Cogitating briefly, he conceived the immortal words “57 varieties,” and immediately hopped off the the train and set about plastering the nation with the now-famous pickle-plus-number logo.” (source: straightdope.com)

© 2013 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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