James Beard – Chef, Food Enthusiast and Author from Portland Oregon
By PDX People
James Beard is a well-known name in Portland Oregon and among professional chefs around the world thanks to the annual James Beard awards but since he’s been dead for over 30 years most people have forgotten about his influence on the cooking world and don’t know about the man behind the famous award.
Born in 1903 in Portland Oregon, James Beard developed a love for food and cooking very early in life from his mother and the time that he spent in their home watching his mother’s Chinese cook prepare meals for the family.
As he grew up, the world was quickly changing around him, and fast meals were all the rage, but Beard fell in love with fine cooking and French Cuisine. His passion for food led him to living in France for a time before returning to the United States.
An Unlikely Cooking Celebrity
By the 1930’s James Beard had moved to New York to become an actor and singer but he was unable to find enough roles in local theater to earn a living. This is when his career in the cooking world really took off. Beard had achieved notoriety from his famous cocktail parties and decided to open a catering company, and the catering company led to him writing a cookbook, than by the mid-1940’s he appeared on NBC television with his cooking show “I love to Eat.
Thanks to the success of his cooking show more cookbooks would follow along with him opening cooking schools around the world, writing 20 cook books, various commercial endorsements, and notoriety among everyday Americans to celebrities who were interested in cooking.
Beard died in 1985 at the age of 81 but his legacy lives on thanks to the work of Julia Child, who preserved his home and legacy which also responsible for creating the annual James Beard awards in 1990 that celebrate the best names in cooking, culinary education and culinary writing in the United States.
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