Tag Archives: master chefs

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.

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

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

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