Tag Archives: Barnes & Noble

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.

How a Master Chef Biography Teaches Us Life Lessons

20 Oct

CHEF TELL

A biography is more than a summary of one person’s lifetime; it is a platform for life lessons that are timeless. Friedemann Paul Erhardt’s lifetime rose out of the dying embers of World War II, crossed the skies above two continents, and burned out too soon. The trajectory of this star-crossed ball of fire came with the TV persona “Chef Tell.”

Erhardt’s arc began when a young boy listened to his mother’s advice, “If you become a chef, you will never go hungry.” Later, he sought to cook for the world to share his personal knowledge and love for food. When Erhardt won an audition for a new show concept in the (then) infant days of syndicated television in the early 1970’s, a new category of chefs was born: the “TV Showman Chef.” (A title bestowed by Philadelphia Inquirer food editor and writer, Elain Tait.)

Within weeks, while Julia Child appeared on regional TV, Chef Tell picked up more than 40,000,000 adoring foodie fans across the nation, also performing live cooking demonstrations in public venues to as many as 20,000 people on a weekend.

Suddenly, Chef Tell was famous, overworked and getting rich. It would not be too much to say that Erhardt as Chef Tell was, in fact, America’s first “Rock-Star” chef.

FRESH INGREDIENTS, FRESH TASTE

Chef Tell’s characteristic signature for all of his cooking was twofold:

  1. He only used the freshest possible ingredients, and
  2. his food always tasted good.

As a matter of principle, Erhardt rose before dawn every day to oversee personally the purchase of foods that would be prepared and cooked in his restaurants or on a TV show set. The freshness and quality of his food choices, as well as his kitchen skills and made-for-television, ebullient personality, brought him more appearances than any other chef on the hottest morning TV show in the nation, LIVE! with Regis & Kathie Lee (later known as LIVE! with Regis & Kelly). When Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford and Kelly Ripa tried Tell’s freshly prepared food on-air and commented favorably, they were ad-libbing their glowing remarks, not reading prepared scripts. (Most other chefs had their foods prepared for them, instead of selecting fresh ingredients and preparing the foods themselves. The crews dismissed eating their foods but clamored for Chef Tell’s!)

LIFE LESSONS

click photo for author-signed copiesWhile the previous paragraph teases us with merely a taste of Chef Tell’s thrill-ride, celebrity life, the off-camera portions are more satisfying and easily ingested by reading the biography, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef (Forewords by Emmy-winner TV hosts, Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib; published by Skyhorse Publishing. 452 pages: hardcover, eBook and AudioBook.)

Readers can discover:

  • how he survived the detritus of post-war living;
  • the discovery of his mother’s lifeless body when he was to begin a three-year, mandatory cooking apprenticeship;
  • the verbal abuses and kitchen projectiles thrown at him as he developed into Germany’s youngest master chef;
  • his life inside an American corporate culinary culture that banished chefs to the confines of their kitchens and discouraged innovation; and
  • the rigors of executive cheffing three restaurants while taping TV shows, making live appearances on TV talk shows and traveling across the country to regale crowds of adoring fans looking for more of his humor and cooking wisdom.

And all of that was just his on-air, on-camera life!

Private Goals

The personal side of Erhardt’s lifetime fascinates readers just as much. There they find the marital bliss and destruction that he faced more than once, and how he emerged mostly unscathed from self-created conflagrations with single women. Through it all, garnering lifelong friendships and overcoming hardships that he had to learn how to master and out-live, Erhardt searched for a long-lasting relationship with one soulmate. And he ended up winning each and every dream he pursued, giving us lessons that we can all use in our quests for happiness.

Chef Tell entertained his fans and loved his celebrity life, but Friedemann Paul Erhardt was just as happy to be someone that his cats and dogs, and closest friends, could always count on to be there for them.

Despite the adversities he had to overcome, Erhardt left us with an important legacy: Persistence toward, and achievement of, desired goals is not only possible, but also a must for surviving a lifetime worth living.

The biography written by Ronald Joseph Kule is available everywhere online, and through the author’s website.

© 2015 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

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

http://bit.ly/ChefsBiographyAla “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 Amazon.com. http://amzn.to/1OPagXE

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 Amazon.com 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.  http://bit.ly/ChefsBiography 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.)

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

4 Feb

About the Chef Tell Biography

http://bit.ly/ChefTellBiographyMost 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

BOOK SIGNING EVENT WITH THE AUTHOR

19 Sep

Come meet and greet the author!

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, from 2:00-5:00 P.M. at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Clearwater, Florida, author Ronald Joseph Kule will read and sign book copies of his latest book, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, forewords by TV hosts Regis Philbin (“Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”, “LIVE! with Regis & Kelly”) and Chef Walter Staib (“A Taste of History” PBS TV series).

Chef Tell hi res cover

Chef Tell Erhardt was a national TV phenomenon. 40,000,000 Baby Boomers – more than Julia Child – tuned in to syndicated TV segments of “PM Magazine” and “Evening Magazine” three times weekly to watch him cook and entertain. He appeared regularly on popular TV shows hosted by Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, John Davidson and Phil Donahue, and others.

Chef Tell, a Tampa Bay resident in the late 1990’s, appeared with local host, Jack Harris, on “The Jack Harris & Company Show” and cooked on-stage at the Plant City Strawberry Festival.

Kule’s hard-cover book, published by Skyhorse Publishing (NYC), 452 pages with 70 photos, also contains NEW Chef Tell recipes, is available now in pre-release online and through retail.

In Chef Tell’s name, the author has pledged a portion of royalties from book sales to Iron Chef Cat Cora’s 501(3)(c) non-profit, Chefs for Humanity, “ to help raise awareness and provide resources for emergency and hunger-related causes.”

Order books now through the store or online and have them signed by the author… GREAT GIFT for the Season!

BARNES & NOBLE STORE

23654 U.S. 19  Clearwater, FL 33765
(727) 669-1688

Pre-Release Ordering Now In Progress!

1 Apr

The biography of Chef Tell is available for pre-release purchases at special prices offered on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets. The release date is set for October 1, 2013 by Skyhorse Publishing, NYC.

“Chef Tell started all this television madness about chefs.” — REGIS PHILBIN

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

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