“In short order, the number of Tell’s celebrity friends and acquaintances expanded. Among them was Yul Brynner, the actor born in Russia and educated in China, who performed The King and I more than 4,200 times. He was a demanding guest with a penchant for one particular type of Washington State apple, which Tell took the trouble to find and keep on hand for him. Princess Margaret, the unpretentious Royal—her only peccadillo was fresh mint in her red wine—who found Tell’s storytelling as charming as his cooking, said, ‘Whatever you would like to cook for me would be well-suited to me, Chef.’
” Tell’s days at the Barclay were numbered, however. The relationship between Tell and the General Manager of the hotel broke down over minor disagreements, which lead to one incident that gave management reason to part ways with Tell.
“’I walk through the dining room in my chef’s uniform, and this is the greatest disgrace that ever happened in the history of the Barclay.’
“Tell was particularly proud of his uniform, ‘If I walk around like this, people think I’m a doctor because I’m dressed all on white, and they see a thermometer sticking out of my short pocket. It’s a meat thermometer. And I go everywhere in my uniform. If people don’t like it: tough. Somebody calls me to a party, wants me to come over for an hour, I go dressed like this. I drive to work like this. I move around like this. I shop like this. I am a chef, this is my uniform—this is a part of me.'”
(excerpted from Chapter 20 of “CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef,” forewords by TV hosts Regils Philbin and Chef Walter Staib. [Skyhorse Publishing, NYC])