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How I Wrote the Biography of Chef Tell

29 Jan

I had come to the conclusion that no one else was going to write about the life of Friedemann Paul Erhardt (a.k.a culinary icon CHEF TELL) and that I better do something. After all, he was my brother-in-law. But I was not sure that it was a worthy endeavor — family and friends were in opposite camps about the man: some loved him, others hated him. I just wanted to research the facts and decide for myself.
In December of 2011, my sister Bunny Erhardt, widowed since Chef had passed away in 2007, acceded to my request for access to her friends and acquaintances. She gave me permission to write the first Chef Tell biography.
Embarked on my quest to discover whether this man was worthy of my time or not, I developed a three-part outline loosely fitted to the early, middle and later years of his lifetime.  As the work progressed, data gathered on my desk and on sheets of papers surrounding my desk fitted into the corresponding sections of that outline. Eventually, a timeline list of major events in Tell’s life took shape, which became the backbone to my body of work.
As people’s names popped up I jotted these down, notching a mark each time the same name appeared. The list directed me to individuals who would become subjects of interviews that I hoped would provide personal anecdotes, as well as qualify some of the data, which were adding up to conflicting accounts.

Fact and fiction overlapped more than a few times. These instances were not the proverbial “truth is stranger than fiction” variety; either the subject of my book had lied to the press, or journalists had researched their magazine and newsprint articles poorly or not at all. Sifting actual fact from a widespread panoply of published falsehoods circulated among articles, media interviews, and the chef himself, was the hardest part of the task!

My Virgin Interview

My first in-person interview was in Philadelphia in the administrative office of Chef Georges Perrier, a contemporary of Chef Tell and one of the Top Five, premier French chefs in America. Perrier had agreed to 15 minutes only — not much time to request more than a simple, “Tell me, chef, what was important about Chef Tell?” If any more time passed, I would wing it by following my instincts.

I had never conducted a live interview with anyone before. Working in international marketing sales (to support my writing aspirations) I had met and sold products and services to many top business executives in the financial and healthcare industries for the last 18 years, but this would be my first live interview as an “Author.”

The questions I asked were never a part of my notes, and Perrier was a wonderful interview. He waxed on about his friendship with Tell as I wrote highlights on my pad of paper. My small recorder captured the actual phrases and nuanced details for later playback. I prodded infrequently and only to let Perrier loose.
In the end, the clock had flown by for more than an hour. We hugged, perhaps with a hint of tears in our eyes, because Perrier had not known that Janet Louise Nicoletti, Tell’s fiancee when the two chefs first met, had overdosed and died years earlier. Perrier’s summation of the woman said it all succinctly,
“Mon dieu, I did not know this. I knew this woman; she was simply tall, bright and beautiful.”
Later, downstairs, having shelled out a twenty-dollar bill to retrieve my rented car from the union-run, Philly parking garage, I made a mental note to bring enough change to feed the street parking meters at future interview meetings. That evening I rewarded myself with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich, for making it through what I thought would be the worst of my gauntlet of interviews for this book.
Now I was proud that I had struck out on this course. Perrier, a man at the top of his profession — the same one as Chef Tell’s — had confided in me two significant morsels:
Chef Tell was a giant of a man. I miss him. I loved him,” and “You know, maybe I’ll have you write my biography, because I like you. But, of course, it would be a very naughty book!”
(Perrier’s remark, which made us both laugh, further broke the ice between us and opened a more intimate repartee from that point forward, gave me reason to reply,
“Georges, perhaps you should wait until you read my book on Tell; you may not think I can write a book well.”)

Each subsequent interview, each fork in the road, each turn, and hill and valley of the path I was on led to new information about whether I would love or hate the man who was Chef Tell as the work moved inexorably toward its own completion.

http://bit.ly/ChefsBiographyThe details, sprinkled among them never-before-released photos and Chef Tell recipes, and my conclusions, are recorded in CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, the 452-page book published by Skyhorse Publishing (NYC) and available online and in bookstores in hardback, eBook and AudioBook formats. Forewords by Emmy-winning TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib.
Author-inscribed copies are available from the author’s website at http://RonKuleBooks.com.
*****
Ronald Joseph Kule is an internationally published author/biographer who writes in several genres. Readers consider his works five-star quality. Kule also writes on commission for corporate and private clients. Contact the author for details by emailing to KuleBooksLLC@gmail.com.

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

20 Dec

EVER WONDER WHY CHEFS WEAR WHITE COATS?

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.)

Have You Read the CHEF TELL Biography?

22 Oct

click photo for author-signed copiesIf you have read this book and liked it, and wish to help sell more copies for the author, please click on the link and go to the Reviews area on the page and post a comment and how many stars the work deserves.

Thank you.

http://www.amazon.com/Chef-Tell-Biography-Americas-Pioneer/product-reviews/1626360049

I Wrote the Biography of A Dead Chef

27 Jun

Why I Wrote My Book

I wrote the biography of a dead chef. I had good reason to sit down and write a biography of a dead chef, because he had been my brother-in-law. His real name was Friedemann Paul Erhardt, but his television persona — how people knew him on TV and at live cooking demonstrations around the country — was CHEF TELL.

Confession & Redemption

230,000 copies sold

1982 Best-seller Cookbook

The plain truth is that the rest of my family knew Chef Tell when he was alive much more than I. At the time of his greatest involvement with our family, I was travelling extensively across North America and I never attended many family functions that he attended. One thing I did know, though, was that part of our family loved him, the others hated him.

Chef Tell caused that reaction wherever he went. He was not meek, quiet or timid about what was on his mind. He was tall (6′ 3″), hefty (250 pounds), and he had a thick German accent. In other words, he was a commanding figure with a no-nonsense presence and a precise manner of living his life among the rest of us. You had to either love or hate him; you could not ignore him.

Tell also had a rapier wit and loved to make people laugh, which he could do easily. He loved to teach people to cook, which was his way of giving back. If you let him get inside of you, or you got inside of him, you would become fast friends.

The truth about Chef Tell was that he had a heart of gold.

Christmas party with staff at the Manor House

Christmas party with staff at the Manor House

The Fastest in the Kitchen

And he was competent in the kitchen. He was intelligent and fast with his (custom) knives and food preparation. Other chefs stepped well away when time was short, and meat had to be carved up and prepared for diners expecting nothing less than the best, who knew that Chef Tell was in the house.

Tell once beat all other timed records on the LIVE! with Regis & KathyLee show for prepping five courses in under five minutes!  He had boasted that he was “the fastest chef with knives in the West” on an earlier appearance, and Regis challenged him to prove it. Chef Tell won the contest. No one has since broken his record over more than 10 years.

But… back to why I wrote my book

I sat down and took about two years out of my life to risk writing a biography of a man I hardly knew well, because he made people feel like they were important. In a few words: he was a larger-than-life personality who left behind a fan base of 40 million Baby Boomers; legacy that all TV chefs today emulate; and a vacuum for those who had worked with him in the business of cooking.

Tell’s lot was to blaze the trail for celebrity chefs on TV — he was the pioneer. He left us too soon. With the rest of us wondering if we loved or hated him, and people wondering what had become of him, I had to write the biography so that his place in culinary history would not be forgotten.

“Chef Tell started all this television madness about chefs.” — Regis Philbin, Emmy-winning TV host

I simply had to find out for myself if I loved this guy or hated him. The result of my quest to answer that obsession is my book. Readers have been pleased to spend their time with it. To date, all reviews have been five-star.

Here are two:

chris gibson book“This book is excellent and well-written,”Chris Gibson, author of Acne Free in 3 Days ~ How I Cured My Acne Condition in 3 Days ~ No Prescriptions… No Over-the-Counters… 100% Natural 

walter staib“It’s a well-written book. The author did such a job. It reads extremely well. You pick up the book and you don’t want to put it down. There’s good information here, and it shows people at the end of the day that life is full of surprises.”

― Chef Walter Staib, Emmy-winning TV show host of A Taste of History on PBS, and SuperFoods with Chef Walter Staib; operator of City Tavern in Philadelphia.

Perhaps, you will want to read my book, too. Author-signed copies of CHEF TELL, The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef are available on my website.  The hard-copy edition is 452 pages, 70 photos, with 7 new recipes. This is also available in all bookstores on their shelves or by request, and on their web sites in all the usual locations. The Audiobook and eBook editions are available through Amazon.com online.

(PLEASE NOTE: A portion of all author royalties go to CHEFS FOR HUMANITY, a 501 (3)(c) non-profit organization founded by Iron Chef Cat Cora, in Chef Tell’s name. Chef Tell always gave back and paid forward what he was given.)

click to buy an author-signed copy

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

How to be a Proud Master Chef and Cook for Celebrities

31 May

     “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])

BUY THE BOOK!

author at Barnes & Noble Booksellers Signing Event

CHEF TELL Lifetime Discussed on PCN-TV

5 May

pcn-tvLate in April 2014, the author of the biography, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, Ronald Joseph Kule, visited the Philadelphia bureau of PCN-TV (Pennsylvania Cable Network-TV) to tape a show segment of PA BOOKS, at the request of network President and CEO, Brian Lockman.

Another guest participated: Chef Walter Staib. Staib, proprietor of Philadelphia’s iconic City Tavern, who wrote one of two forewords to the biography — the other is by TV host Regis Philbin — was a friend of (the late) Chef Tell (Friedemann Paul Erhardt).

The author had asked Chef Staib to come to the taping to add historical perspective to the commentary, and he did not disappoint, also bringing anecdotes and fresh strudel for the whole crew. (Staib is the host of the Emmy-winning TV series, A Taste of History.)tj-walter261x362

During the hour-long taping, host Lockman interviewed Kule about his book, why he wrote it, and what it was like to research and write about such a renowned chef. Turns out that Kule was the late chef’s brother-in-law. He shared an anecdote about a breakfast that inspired him to write the book, as well as several other facts about the chef, including some of his famous quips.

40 MILLION BABY BOOMERS

Baby Boomer Philadelphians, a part of Tell’s fan base of 40,000,000 avid viewers, will remember watching Chef Tell on TV-show segments of Dialing for Dollars and Evening Magazine, and his guest chef appearances on the Mike Douglas Show, The Dinah Shore Show, the John Davidson Show and the Merv Griffin Show, among others. He was the chef who boasted he was the “fastest chef with knives in the East and the West” — a status he proved on one of his many appearances on LIVE! with Regis & Kathie Lee, by handily breaking the record for preparing and cooking a five-course meal… in under five minutes!

Chef Tell Manor HouseTell’s signature sign-off, “I SEE YOU!” was a household phrase for the three decades he appeared on television and in numerous live cooking demonstration shows in venues across America.

The book, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, published by New York City’s Skyhorse Publishing, came out in October 2013, in hard cover, audiobook and eBook formats. Books are available through Barnes & Noble Booksellers, other store retailers, and online. Kule has garnered all five-star reviews to date.

The place to order author-signed, hard-cover editions for gifting is the author’s website. Included in the book are new Chef Tell recipes, as well as a DVD offer for Chef Tell cooking shows.

Barnes & Noble Booksellers Signing Event

Barnes & Noble Booksellers Signing Event – Author & wife.

PCN-TV’s PA BOOKS will air the one-hour show about the Chef Tell biography on Sunday, June 15, at 9:00 p.m.

YOUR COMMENTS AND REPLIES ARE WELCOME HERE (BELOW).

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

CHEF TELL America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, favorite of Baby Boomers

19 Mar

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

‘Tell started all this television madness about chefs.’ – Regis Philbin

(* 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, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and Iron Chef Cat Cora)

“FIVE STARS. FASCINATING, HARD TO PUT DOWN”
“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

 

A Chef’s Life

11 Mar

I had come to the conclusion that no one else was going to write about the life of Chef Tell Erhardt and that I better do something about that. Not sure it was a worthy endeavor, because family and friends I’d met were in opposite camps about the man: some loved him, and others hated him, I wanted to research the facts and decide for myself. The easiest pretext was to work under the guise of writing his biography.

Research unraveled a few facts right away.

Friedemann Paul Erhardt, as his family and cohorts knew him, was the first syndicated television chef of nationwide prominence in America. He earned the job by winning an audition held in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square park in 1974.

Stepping up to the camera without script or props, Tell ad-libbed  a cooking demonstration, and the producers liked what they saw enough to give him the contract. When asked what might be his TV moniker, he quipped, “Eh, just call me ‘Chef Tell’.” Since childhood he’d been nicknamed “Tell” after performing the role of Wilhelm Tell in school plays.

Simple enough.

Syndicated television in those heady days of the industry could make someone a star in weeks. Such was the case when the newly minted Chef Tell hit the airwaves and millions of people saw him on their rabbit-eared, black and white TV screens: within weeks, millions of viewers started a commentary on the swarthy 6’3″ chef with a German accent as thick as his horseshoe moustache. His quick food tips, rapier-like quips, and the skilled flashes of his fast-moving knives had caught their attention, although roughly half of the viewers loved what they saw — his segment lasted only 90 seconds — and couldn’t get enough of him; the other half complained about not being able to understand him through his heavily German-accented English.

After all, it had only been two years before that a former Miss Philadelphia, Janet Louise Nicoletti, invited him to come to America after she became his fiance. The only person with whom he spoke comfortably at the time was Nicoletti, since he didn’t know English.

In no time, thousands of recipe requests rained on unsuspecting TV station mail-room departments.As the media struggled to handle the deluge, which had mounted to a steady 10,000 or more weekly, Chef Tell’s image traveled from region to region, picking up more and more Baby Boomer fans along the way. Soon, Tell was on tour for months at a time, conducting cooking demonstrations in large public venues, and making live television and radio appearances. His popularity spread like wildfire. He was even mobbed at airports.

Chef Tell was, in fact, America’s first “Rock-Star” chef. He was also a real chef, named Germany’s “1970 Chef of the Year” the same year he passed his final cooking-school exams and led his team of six chefs to the Gold Medal at Germany’s Cooking Olympics.

Goldmedaille 001His personal signature dish, Schweinepfeffer Mit Spaetzle, also won the Gold Medal.

But I digress.

In December of 2011, my sister, Bunny Erhardt, now a widow since Chef had passed away in 2007, acceded to my request for access to her friends and acquaintances, and permission to write Tell’s biography.

Embarking on my quest to discover whether this man was worthy of my time as an author or not, I developed a three-part outline loosely fitted to the early-, middle- and latter-years of his lifetime — a beginning, middle and end to the story, if you will.  As data gathered on my desk and on my sheets of papers surrounding my work area, I fit these into the corresponding sections of that outline. Eventually, a timeline list of major events took shape, which would become my main guide to my work.

As people’s names popped up within the information about Tell’s life story, I jotted these down and notched a mark each time the same name appeared. The list soon directed me to certain individuals who would become subjects of interviews I hoped to conduct for personal anecdotes and to qualify some of the data which, in some instances, added up to conflicting accounts.

In other words, fact and fiction overlapped more than a few times — not that the proverbial “truth is stranger than fiction” was happening, but either the subject of my book had lied to the press, or journalists had researched their article facts poorly or not at all. The toughest part of my work in researching this book was sifting the actual facts from the widespread panoply of continued falsehoods among articles, media interviews and the chef himself!

1975 officeTell

My first in-person interview came in Philadelphia in the administrative office of Georges Perrier, a contemporary of Chef Tell and one of the Top Five premier French chefs in America. Truthfully? I had never conducted a live interview with anyone before as a writer. Sure, I had met and sold many business executives in the financial and healthcare industries in my previous incarnation for the last 18 years — working in marketing sales internationally, but this was my first interview with my “Author” hat on my head.

The questions asked were never a part of my notes. Perrier had agreed only to 15 minutes at first — not much time to request more than a simple, “Tell me, chef, what was important about Chef Tell?” If any more time passed, I would wing it, follow my instincts.

Perrier was a wonderful interview. He waxed on about his friendship with Tell, and I wrote highlights on my pad of paper, letting my small recorder capture the actual phrases and nuanced details for later playback. I prodded infrequently and only to let Perrier loose. In the end, the clock had flown by for over an hour, and we were hugging, perhaps with a hint of tears in our eyes — he had not known that Nicoletti had overdosed years earlier. His summation of the woman said it all succinctly, “Mon dieu, I did not know this. I knew this woman; she was simply tall, bright and beautiful.”

Downstairs, having had to shell out a twenty-dollar bill to retrieve my rented car from the union-run, Philly parking garage, I made a mental note to bring enough change to feed the street parking meters at all future interview meetings. I also rewarded myself that evening with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich, figuring that would be the worst of my gauntlet of interviews I would have to pass through toward completion of this book.

Philly cheesesteaks

I was on my way, proud that I had struck out on this course, because Perrier, a man at the top of his profession — the same one as Chef Tell’s — had confided in me two significant morsels: “Chef Tell was a giant of a man. I miss him. I loved him,” and “You know, maybe I’ll have you write my biography, because I like you. But, of course, it would be a very naughty book!” (His remark made us both laugh, which further broke the ice between us, making for a more intimate repartee from that point; also giving me reason to reply, “Georges, perhaps you should wait until you read my book on Tell; you may not think I can write a book well.”)

Each interview and turn of the discoveries unearthed in my quest to find out if I would love or hate the man who was Chef Tell, pushed the work inexorably toward a completion. The details, however, will have to wait for the next installments of this blog.  Sprinkled among them will be never-released, new Chef Tell recipes that Baby Boomers and cooks of all ages will want to prep and cook in their kitchens.

To ensure you receive the next installments, please comment and follow this blog site.

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule and KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

HEAVEN ON EARTH PASTRY PUFFS: ZEPPOLE

3 Feb

The other day, while visiting a chef I had wanted to meet for a long time, Chef Charles Knight, owner of Health Craft Cookware Company, also a friend of many years with my brother-in-law Chef Tell,  I found out how to make an Italian pastry delicacy with a mere four ingredients: water, butter, flour and eggs.

The base of this unexpected treat, choux pastry or pâte à choux, interested me, but the work involved in mixing the ingredients came as a complete surprise. I came away with real respect for the muscled arms and shoulders of sous chefs everywhere. When I remarked – my upper arm muscles tightening up — to my new host, “Now I understand why executive chefs hire sous chefs to do this,” he retorted with, “You mean ‘sue’ chefs.” (Because they’ll sue you, if you make fun of them.)

beignet dough mixing

photo attribution: http://en.wikipedia.org

You see, when heated butter and water mix with flour a chemical reaction takes place, and the resulting mix requires kneading.

In our case, we used a round-bottomed pot and stirred the whole thing with a large wooden spoon. Interestingly, as I stirred the mixed ingredients, they began to withdraw from the edges to form a rounded dough ball, which the spoon coaxed into being. The result was essentially the same as a pizza dough, minus a rising agent (typically yeast). (For the exact steps to take, read on.)

pre-zeppole dough ball

Now the hard work began. When the eggs were introduced, one at a time, another chemical reaction took place, separating the kitchen weak of muscle from the strong.  The arm strength required to move the process along was quite intense, because the initial mixing created a thickening dough.

On the other hand, the advancing reaction eventually turned the thickened paste into a softened, lighter and more-pliable dough that, once shaped, could be deep-fried or baked, and then dusted with a final, sweet or savory topping of our choice.

photo attribution: http://hintofvanilla.blogspot.com

For our taste buds, Charles and I mixed freshly ground cinnamon and granulated table sugar, sprinkling this combination onto over a dozen of our newly made, palm-sized puffed pastries popularly known as “Zeppole.”

dusted zeppole

photo attribution: http://imalittle.com

*******

Before we bit into the warm delicacies, a little history lesson was on tap, and my host explained:

“People believe, and 16th century records purport, that a chef, Pantarelli, who was Catherine de’ Medici’s head chef of her court in 1533 when she moved to France, created the new dough in 1540. He used his invention to make a light gateau (cake), giving his creation the title of ‘Pâte à Pantarelli.’ The popular confection’s reputation among other chefs spread widely. With the addition of each new chef’s imagination and tinkering with the dough new twists popped up. Even the name evolved to ‘Pâte à Popelin,’ when it took on characteristics associated with another popular dessert, popelins, which were small cakes made in the shape of women’s breasts.

“When an eighteenth century pastry chef, Jean Avice, pushed the creative envelope further, he created what came to be known as “choux buns,” which in turn became pâte à choux (cabbage in French), since they resembled the look of cabbages.”

“Later, in the nineteenth century, Antoine Carême modified the recipe and made profiteroles with the light pastry dough. A parade of chefs added croquembouches, éclairs, French crullers, beignet, St. Honoré cakes, Indonesian kue sus, and gougères to the fast-growing list of items that could be produced with the desirable dough mixture and its high moisture content that employs steam to puff the pastry as it cooks.

“Though usually fried, choux pastry in the hands of chefs of other nationalities are baked (beignet), or fried, dried, filled, and then baked. Spanish and Latin American churros consist of fried choux pastry, sugared and dipped in a thin chocolate blancmange for breakfast. Austrians make Marillenknödel, a denser, sweet apricot dumpling, by boiling it. Choux pastry filled with a light cream or pudding makes cream puffs or éclairs.”Marillenknodel

.

photo attribution: http://www.ackerl.at

*******

We filled our cups with freshly ground and brewed coffee, to which I added coconut milk.  My host poured cream into his brew, and we waited and watched.

The medium-sized saucepan half-filled with Extra Virgin olive oil heated to a gentle 350 degrees, took only a few minutes to come to a boil because of the inductive cooking heat source we used. The rolling oil accepted the dough that we dropped into it five individual pieces at a time – enough to let them cook but not so many that they were too crowded to fully puff out, after we scooped them up with a small spoon and shaped them with another spoon repeatedly. Knowing when to remove the individual pieces from the hot oil was easy: they puffed up and browned from the reaction inside and the hot oil outside right before our eyes.

As the second batch rolled in the heated oil, the first group already scooped out shed its excess oil with the help of paper towels placed on a small plate under it. Sprinkled with the cinnamon/sugar blend, the zeppole were now ready to eat — a real treat with our freshly brewed coffee.

*******

Step-by-step instructions for making the pastry, accompanied by visual aids at each stage of development, make prepping and cooking your own Zeppole fast and easy:

01x Start the pâte à choux by placing all the ingredients except the flour and eggs in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.

 

 

 

02xCut the butter into pieces so it melts by the time the liquid comes to a boil.

 

 

 

 

03xBring the liquids to a boil, uncovered, over medium heat. Stir once to ensure that everything mixes, and that the butter is all melted.

 

 

 

04xRemove the saucepan from the heat. Add the flour all at one time.

 

 

 

 

05xQuickly incorporate the flour with a wooden spatula.

 

 

 

 

06xBeat the paste until it becomes homogenous and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan.

 

 

 

 

07xReturn the saucepan to the heat. Cook the paste, stirring continuously, over medium heat until it dries out, about 3 minutes. The paste is dry enough when it leaves a thin, dry film on the bottom of the saucepan.

 

 

 

08xRemove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes or so. Some chefs will transfer the dough to a separate bowl at this point so that none of the film becomes part of the dough. When the dough cools a bit, add the first egg.

 

 

 

09xStir the egg into the paste. Initially, the egg and paste will seem not to blend, but after a while they will start to combine. Stir until the paste is smooth and even in texture.

 

 

 

10xContinue adding the eggs, one at a time.

 

 

 

 

11xAfter each added egg, the mixture will appear loose and separated.

 

 

 

 

12xWith continuous mixing, each egg will become incorporated as before.

 

 

 

 

13xWhen finished, the pâte à choux is a pale yellow, smooth, moist, sticky and slightly elastic.

Attribution: photos and accompanying instructions: Pâte à Choux.

 

 

*******

Chef Knight and I stopped making more zeppole when we had about 20 to eat between us. Let me tell you, they are impossible to eat only one! Our zeppole were the perfect accompaniment to our coffee and our conversation!

And the fillings and variations one can add to the basic ingredients are limited only by the imagination.

Although it was hard to do, we managed to save a few leftovers at the end of our meeting for travel home with me to surprise my wife.

*******

If you are looking to outfit your kitchen with a new saucepan or other pots and pans, consider Chef Charles Knight’s Health Craft Cookware Company as your source for excellent individual items and cookware sets. Ask about the inductive heating pads for time-saving, less-costly inductive cooking that uses less heat and energy than conventional sources.

Mention my name, Ronald Joseph Kule, and tell them you heard about their company through this blog. Use “CODE CTG,” and I’m pretty sure Chef Knight is going to take good care of you.

sugar and cinnamon dusted zeppole

Attribution: http://labuonacucina70.blogspot.com

P.S. Leave us a posted comment with your email address. In return, we will send you a booklet of Chef Tell recipes absolutely FREE! A Limited Time Offer… act now!

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

Chef Biography Baby Boomer Food for Thought

27 Jan

1943 stuttgart marketplace

Friedemann Paul Erhardt survived a harrowing childhood in post-war Germany, and his mother’s suicide, to endure a Hell’s Kitchen apprenticeship and become Germany’s youngest Master Chef in history in 1970. Two years later, he came to America, and landed the Executive Chef position at the famed Barclay Hotel in Philadelphia.

Winning an open audition for a syndicated TV segment in 1976, he went on to become America’s first “rock-star” TV chef with an active fan base of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers — more than Julia Child. As TV host Regis Philbin put it, “Chef Tell started all this television madness about chefs.”

The Rest of the Story…

The complete and richly detailed, timeless life story of this amazing personality — an American culinary icon, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, written by Ronald Joseph Kule with forewords by Emmy-winner TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib, resonates with readers everywhere: posted reviews to date are all five star, including those from several celebrities across different industries.

cropped-chef-tell-cover-photo.jpg

Baby Boomers and Others Are Raving About this Book:

  • “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.
  • “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, New York City.
  • “Chef Tell was a man of great humor and incredible skills in the kitchen. He brought wonderful food to the table as well as love and laughter. The author did an impeccable job bringing to life Chef’s humor and passion for food.”—Iron Chef Cat Cora, Santa Barbara, California.
  • “The author’s excellence can be felt in the pulse that beats from within the pages of this book. His work about the late Chef Tell is going to stir more than just a few kitchen pots. I stood back in amazement as Kule took a complex, infuriating, yet ultimately appealing character, and produced one superbly crafted work of literature.” — J. David Miller, Award-winning Author/Sports Journalist/head coach, AAA Semi-pro champion SoCal Coyotes, Rancho Mirage, California.
  • “WOW is a great start! This is a wonderful account of one man’s voyage and how in so many ways every reader will connect with something. It is engaging, and takes you through all the emotions of life, leaving you to decide what is next for you, and how you will make the most of your today – it’s a testament of the human spirit.”—Tracy Repchuk, #1 Amazon.com Best Selling Author and Top Woman Speaker in the World Online Business Strategy, Los Angeles, California.
  • “The story written is fantastic! I knew Chef Tell as a talented Master Chef and worked as his pastry chef for more than 10 years. This book puts his story together very well.” – Suladda May, Restaurateur, Thai Orchid, Grand Cayman Island.
  • “I so love the way the author uses his words to paint a picture. They make me wish I was there in Philly during that heyday, enjoying the camaraderie among chefs. Reading this book really fuels that fire in me. Chef Tell lived an amazing life and truly paved the way for many chefs who followed on TV. A pioneer and true artist, his story is nothing short of inspirational. From living through the bombings of Germany at birth, to bringing about a revival of Philly through five-star restaurants, this is a book every chef and foodie will want to read.” — Shelley Jaffe, Executive Chef and Roving Foodie (www.rovingfoodies.com), New York and Florida.
  • “My dad, who is 99 and has the mind of a 25-year-old, reads one to two books a week. I bought him Chef Tell’s biography, and he could not put it down. He said, ‘It is outstanding,’ and ‘… Kule is a very gifted writer.’ Dad knew Chef Tell and was always invited to Tell’s fourth of July parties. Tell enjoyed talking with my Dad, who is of Austrian heritage, grew up in the coal region till he went to World War II, 1941 through 1945, and, later, posted in Korea.” — Sharon Dacey, Pennsylvania.
  • “Hey… just finished Tell’s book and I must say Kule really nailed his story. What a storied life Chef Tell lead. He really was a “giant” of a man in many ways. I must admit I had a tear in my eye at the end, and then a few chuckles reading the ‘Last Words.’ I loved the way the author tied it all together for the few people left after the funeral party, who witnessed the huge bonfire and the sparks shooting up to the heavens: that was Tell’s life, and the bonfire was very symbolic. I guess that’s why the Vikings honored their dead leaders/warriors the same way. Of course, the story is the story, warts and all, and I am glad I was a part of it. I feel very honored to have met Tell and got to share in his incredible life. I just wish he was still around, and we could have a few more laughs. Anyway, thanks to the author, Ronald Joseph Kule, for keeping his memory alive and for capturing his ‘story’ so well. I think Tell would have loved this book and been proud to be its ‘star.’ Thanks again for the memories… nice job!” — Tony Baarda, New Jersey.
  • “Hey, Kule… you owe me THREE NIGHTS! I couldn’t put your book down!” – John Fleming, opera singer, Florida.
  • “Halfway through the book now… Kule has really created something wonderful here that is very hard to put down. I love the short-chapters format. It is great to pick up right where you left it, whenever you can actually tear yourself away, that is. Chef Tell was a larger-than-life figure. I had no idea, because my generation missed him completely, but in my mind I am comparing him to any “rock star” or sports figure around today. Kule has successfully captured and portrayed the essence of how famous this guy was – what a rags-to-riches story.”     – J.H., NYPD, New York City.
  • “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. Chef Tell shows us that we advance not so much because of the people we know, but because of our ability to create those relationships — above and beyond presenting consistently delectable dishes in whatever profession we have chosen. For those who want to advance in the culinary world, and for those of us who want to appreciate better the labor of love our favorite chefs go through to delight our taste buds and nourish our bodies, this is a good read. FIVE STARS.” — Maggy Graham, Web Designer, Largo, Florida.
  • “‘CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef’ 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 the pioneer TV showman chef, whom I knew, it’s a series of word pictures that ties together the complexities of each aspect of Chef Tell’s life and career. Kule’s work is a ‘Must Read’ for all Foodies, especially those aspiring TV cooks or chefs. FIVE STARS. FASCINATING, HARD TO PUT DOWN.”  — Chef Charles Knight, Tampa, Florida.

Book Details:

Written by the chef’s brother-in-law, who is an internationally published author and poet, this 454-page, hard cover biography arrives with 70 photos, seven NEW RECIPES, and a DVD offer for home cooks to own Chef Tell on-air TV segments in their homes. Published by Skyhorse Publishing of New York City, this meticulously crafted, fascinating story satisfies adult readers on many levels. Also available online in Ebook and audiobook formats. Author-signed copies are available through the author’s web site, http://kulebooks.myshopify.com/

Chef Tell in Grand Cayman Islands

Chef Tell operated Chef Tell’s Grand Old House on Grand Cayman Island in the 1980’s.

American icons come and go, but their stories live on in the biographies written about them. In the case of Chef Tell, we had only his cookbooks to remind us of his prodigious skills to prep foods, entertain, makes us laugh and teach us how to cook in our kitchens… that is, until now.

Now, with the rest of his story on hand — the real, raw, riveting and ribald adventure that was the lifetime of Friedemann Paul Erhardt, a.k.a. CHEF TELL, we have other pieces of the puzzle to delight us!

About Author Ronald Joseph Kule:

http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1820-ronald-joseph-kule

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