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Finding the Perfect Camera-ready TV Chef

8 Nov

Watching Chef Tell in action is both a learning and a laughing experience. Even before he achieved his “youngest master chef in Germany” status in 1970 he was teaching students in Heidelberg classes. Throughout his entire professional life Tell gave back by teaching cooking classes wherever he worked, including in America. He was generous that way with his time, but, more than that, he was giving of his knowledge and expertise not only to students hoping to one day become chefs, but also to home cooks who watched him through the magic of syndicated television when that medium was a start-up industry.

From the recently released Chef Tell biography:

“Channel 6’s Dialing for Dollars Producer Art Moore took notice and offered Tell an opportunity to cook on-air, if Marriott would provide the food. Marriott was receptive, and Tell’s first 90-second TV cooking demo aired. The station received a flood of phone calls. Half the viewers liked the novelty of his having to cook in 90 seconds or less and they liked Tell; the other half complained about his thick German accent and the speed at which he talked.

“When 800 letters from the audience deluged the station after airing the one test segment, Moore decided to air another segment, albeit after Tell and he had worked together to improve his speed of speech delivery and, of course, do what they could about the accent.

“According to Moore, ‘We created the show and went looking for a chef to do a cooking segment. Fortunately, after the initial trial, we found we had a chef on our hands, who understood the importance and potential of television. Tell “got it” right away. Even though we prodded him about his accent and joked with him, he rolled with our advice, which helped create his banter on-air with the audiences.’

“Moore also commented upon Tell’s personality, ‘He had a charming, ebullient personality. He was smart, and we saw that what he did worked.'” (end excerpt.)

Chef Tell — Friedemann Paul Erhardt off-air — also had a gift for delivering jokes and one-liners that made viewers laugh and his producers and their advertisers happy with the ratings they recorded.  Within a few months of his first airing, Tell had become a sought-after celebrity chef with a following of tens of millions of Baby Boomers who tuned in and were entertained with phrases like, “You do like this, you do like that” (as he prepared some meat dishes) and “Very easy, very nice” (as he plated and garnished his finished products). And, of course, people all over America mimicked his sign-off phrase, “I SEE YOU!”

At times, he would add in a little self-deprecating humor, “Why does the new German navy have glass-bottom boats? Because they can see the old German navy that way.” And without waiting for the audience to laugh, or finish laughing, he would move on to the next preparation step or the next dish.

All in 90 seconds, which eventually expanded to three to five-minute sketches as fast as his audience numbers grew. In some markets his segments brought in a 50 percent market share for the local stations. In fact, Chef Tell was a phenomenon that had not been seen in television before him: the pioneer TV showman chef.

Owning a series of Chef Tell DVD’s brings the master chef into your home all over again. These are available now. The impetus for the offer is the recently released book, CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, written by author Ronald Joseph Kule, who was Chef Tell’s brother-in-law. The hard-cover book is 452 pages and contains 70 photos and NEW, never-published recipes from the master chef; also available in eBook and Audiobook formats online and in stores.

BLOGGER’S NOTE: If you’ve come this far in this blog post, please comment on the post and anything else you wish to share about Chef Tell, or chefs and cooking in general.  Do you have an anecdote from knowing Chef Tell? Please share with other readers here.

© 2013 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

Master Chef, Chef Tell DVD OFFER!

26 Sep

CHEF TELL is on a lot of peoples’ minds these days. The biography of his life reads like a timeless tale of overcoming one obstacle after another on an improbable journey toward a stardom that was almost beyond his beliefs. Certainly he could not have known that his likeness and words — let alone his cooking tips, lightning speed with sharp kitchen knives, and rapier-like wit — would become household conversation pieces around the country back in 1976, when he stood on a park lawn and auditioned for an experimental, national TV segment, barehanded and script-less.

The master chef was our first “rock-star” chef. As many as 20,000 Baby Boomer would-be home cooks crowded into Baltimore’s convention center on one weekend just to watch their TV hero cook and entertain in five shows.

(An infomercial of the “lost” Chef Tell shows on DVD will be operable on October 1st — be sure to come back to this link then!)

Chef Tell will again be seen on-air, at least in the Philadelphia area, at first on October 1st… and, who knows, the magic that syndicated his name and image around the nation more than once may strike again. Chef Tell may appear on the air around the country, if all goes well.Chef Tell hi res cover

A lot of the buzz has to be the book.  Chef Tell’s brother-in-law, Ronald Joseph Kule, spent a couple of years of his life researching and writing the life-story of the American kitchen icon. He wanted to leave a legacy for one of his sisters, who married Tell and was his most intimate companion for more than 25 years.

The 452-page, hard-cover book includes 70 photos and NEW CHEF TELL RECIPES, besides the DVD offer in print. There is even a “posthumous gift” inside from the master chef himself: a seven-course dinner suggested and designed to please any palate.

You’ll probably laugh a little, cry a little and even sigh a little reading this meticulous book, but you will walk away more certain that your own dreams can come true with a little luck and a lot of persistence after you journey through Tell’s life and times… those heady days when a renaissance of the culinary arts that captured the nation’s eyes and ears through the magic of television began in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, home of one of its most ebullient personalities, Chef Tell.

© 2013 by KuleBooks LLC. All Rights Reserved.

43 Days to Another Baby Boomer Milestone

19 Aug

In 43 more days the biography of the late Chef Tell will be available for delivery for the first time.  In pre-release since March, pent-up demand for the much-anticipated book has brought keen interest from Baby Boomers who remember the master chef.  In fact, at the heyday of his TV career, Chef Tell was followed by 40,000,000 Baby Boomers regularly.

It’s easy to figure why he was so loved on camera: his irascible personality, quick-witted quips and spot-on cooking tips were served up faster than the blink of an eye… and they always tasted good!  Just ask TV hosts Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford, who tried more dishes made by Chef Tell than any other chef back in the days of their TV show, LIVE! with Regis & Kathie Lee.

Today Baby Boomers ought to spread the word: Chef Tell is back, not only with his life story — even the off-camera stuff, but also with NEW recipes and a DVD offer that includes never-before-aired shows with the Master Chef himself in redux.

The book is available through all the usual channels, including bookstores, online outlets and any place you can buy a book. This one is hard cover, about 264 pages and filled with photos of the man and the people who loved his food.

Makes a great gift idea for those who love biographies, recipes, and stories that make them cry and laugh out loud.

Chef Tell cover photo

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