American Masters-James Beard: America's First Foodie

American Masters-James Beard: America's First Foodie

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

Photo: James Beard

Credit: Courtesy of Dan Wynn

Enjoy a “chefs flight” of four documentaries on culinary legends James Beard, Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Alice Waters, premiering May 2017 on WXXI-TV.

New documentaries American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie and American Masters – Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft will be paired with encore presentations of American Masters: Julia! America’s Favorite Chef and American Masters: Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution, respectively. American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie premieres Friday, May 19, 2017 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

Experience a century of food through the life of one man, James Beard (1903-1985). Dubbed the “Dean of American Cookery” by The New York Times, Beard was a Portland, Ore., native who loved and celebrated the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. He spoke of the importance of localism and sustainability long before those terms had entered the vernacular. At a time of “all things French,” Beard appreciated what America had to bring to the table, and was the first chef to go on television to teach not only women, but men, how to cook. A cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity and teacher, Beard helped to pioneer and expand the food media industry into the billion-dollar business it is today.

James Beard is followed by American Masters: Julia! America’s Favorite Chef on Friday, May 19 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV.Celebrate the life and legacy of Julia Child (1912-2004), fondly remembered for introducing French cuisine to American home cooks through her television series – beginning with WGBH’s The French Chef in 1963 – and books. The film tells two love stories: one between Julia and Paul Child, the other between Julia and French food. Originally broadcast in August 2004, the film features previously unseen photos, including several from Paul Child’s personal archive, granted exclusively to the film’s producers. Child was a pioneer in public television’s long tradition of cooking programs, revolutionizing the way America cooks, eats and thinks about food. 

On WXXI-TV Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. discover the story of Chef Jacques Pépin (b. December 18, 1935), in American Masters – Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft. Pépin, a young immigrant with movie-star looks, a charming Gallic accent, and a mastery of cooking and teaching so breathtaking he became an early food icon—joined James Beard and Julia Child among the handful of Americans who transformed the way the country views the food world. Not content cooking in French palaces, where he was the personal chef to three French presidents including Charles de Gaulle, Pépin’s American journey took him through the kitchens of Howard Johnson’s, bringing his commitment to great taste, craftsmanship and technique to American popular food. With his landmark cookbooks and television shows, he ushered in a new era in American food culture – a story that continues to unfold. American Masters – Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craft airs Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

After Jacques Pépin stay tuned for American Masters: Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution airs Friday, May 26 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Follow Alice Waters (b. April 28, 1944) through a year of seasonal shopping and cooking, and discover both the recipes and vision of an artist and an advocate. She and her now-famous restaurant Chez Panisse became a major force behind the way Americans eat and think about food, launching the explosion of local farmers’ markets and redesigned supermarket produce departments. Distressed by the food she saw in public schools, Waters started an organic garden with an integrated curriculum at the Martin Luther King Middle School near her house, an idea inspired by The Garden Project at the San Francisco county jail. The idea of an Edible Schoolyard has now spread across the U.S. – and inspired similar programs worldwide. She is an activist with a flawless palette who has taken her gift for food and turned it into consciousness about the environment and nutrition, and a device for social change. 

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