Speaker 1 Well, the James Beard Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. We started in 1986 as a way of honoring the legacy of the great James Beard, and he was considered the godfather of American cuisine. And when he passed away in 1985, some of his best friends were other giants in the food industry, including Peter Kump, who ran a cooking school, and Julia Child and Wolfgang Puck. And they really, you know, said we have to do something to honor James Beard. And this house that we're in today was where James Beard lived and taught cooking classes, wrote many of his cookbooks. And those folks really were the ones who said we have to create a foundation in his name and save James Firaz house is what people said Julia Child was telling all her friends.

Speaker 2 And tell us how you came to the foundation and became its president.

Speaker 1 OK, well, I've been president for seven years now and I don't have that seven year itch. It's been fantastic. I loved every minute of it. It's been a really wonderful place to get to know not only the best chefs and restaurateurs in America, but great journalists and great people, cookbook authors. James Beard was a cookbook author as well as a teacher. And I think our foundation's greatest heritage is that, you know, our mission, we're fulfilling it. Our mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. And I can't think of anything more inspiring than our James Beard awards, which happen every day. And we also are giving out scholarships to deserving students all over the country. I'm very proud of the fact that since nineteen ninety one now, we've awarded over four point six million dollars in financial aid to deserving students, people who are going on to be the next great chefs in America.

Speaker 2 In what way do you feel that the foundation carries on the spirit of James Beard himself?

Speaker 1 Well, James Beard clearly was a man who was a great mentor. He mentored some of the some of America's best chefs. James Beard was a great mentor. He mentored some of America's greatest chefs today, Wolfgang Puck, Larry Forteo. He actually named a restaurant in his honor, the great, his restaurant, The American. And Larry, for John's Restaurant, an American place was really named in James Beard's honor. And for years, Larry had a quote from James Beard on his menu. Alice Waters was another protege of James Beard. He was also great friends with the great writer MFK Fisher. And, you know, when you look into James Beard's history, they spent many times out in Gearheart and Oregon, his home state, spending summers talking about what's really important in the culinary world.

Speaker 2 What do you want people to remember about James Beard?

Speaker 1 I think many people think of the James Beard Foundation because we give out the awards for the best of the best in the industry, that our foundation is just about, you know, high cuisine, haute cuisine. And that's not true. I mean, we award America's classics. We award restaurants that are doing great things all over the country. And, you know, James Beard really wasn't quite a food snob, even though some people think he might have been. When I first came to the foundation seven years ago, I read his biography, did what I could to find out about what kind of man he really was. He loved fried chicken. He loved downhome cuisine as much as he loved highfalutin cuisine, like haute cuisine. And there's a quote of his that I really love. He said, I don't like gourmet cooking or this or that cooking. I love good cooking.

Speaker 2 So what do you think that James Beatts biggest contribution to the food world was?

Speaker 1 Well, I think James Beard would be completely shocked at how his name and his legacy has grown since his passing in 1985. Certainly when he was alive, he was somebody who really believed in talking about the importance of an American cuisine. And he was the first he was the first person to really be on television. His you know, we have old late 1940s footage of him on I love to eat black and white sitting in a little like living room setting with, you know, women, house housewives, women who care about cooking. And he would hulkower talking about, you know, important subjects in the food industry. And then he would take somebody into the kitchen and teach them how to make a salad, a soup, a pasta. He was also really the first person on the Today show, Teach in America How to Cook. I love watching some of the old videos of him with a young Bryant Gumbel and a young Tom Brokaw in the kitchen here in the house teaching Americans had a roasted chicken. There's a great episode where I should say that there's a great segment with Brian Gumbel where he's teaching him how to make homemade pasta. And it's really quite hilarious to see, you know, Bryant Gumbel not really wanting to touch the just the amount of flour with the egg in the water. And, you know, James Beard really was somebody who loved teaching. And I think that's probably one of the most important legacies that he wrote over two dozen cookbooks. And clearly, he was the one who wrote the first book on barbecue, cook it outdoors. Think about that. It's really amazing. And I thought the two dozen, two dozen,

Speaker 2 you know, one or two that you mentioned that a misconception about James is that he was a food snob. What other misconceptions do you think are people have about the man?

Speaker 1 I really don't know of any other misconceptions. I think just because after his passing, we created this foundation in his name that really is considered, you know, the Oscars of the food industry, that people probably think James Beard only cared about fine dining. Now, clearly, he did care about that a lot. As many people know, he was the person that the great restaurateur in New York City, Joe BAMN, called to help him decide what to do with this beautiful Philip Johnson building that he had just bought. This was back in the late 1950s when in New York City, the only great restaurants were French. And Joe BAMN called his great friend James Beard, said, I've got this restaurant I want to start. Can you help? And he was a consultant. And it was his idea very you know, when you think about it over 50 years ago to create a restaurant where the menu changed with the seasons, and that's why they named the Four Seasons. And it's just really exciting to think that he was talking about food, miles, and cooking in season long before it became really, you know, the trend, because the past 10 years, I don't think you can go to any great restaurant without seeing sourcing from where the lamb came from, where the greens came from, where the fruit came from, where the fish came from. So I do think that that's one of his great legacies, that he was the beginning. The he was the impetus, the godfather of local cuisine as well.

Speaker 2 In what ways? Let's talk about what the foundation has changed since it began and grown.

Speaker 1 Well, our foundation as our twenty over twenty five years ago when the foundation started, it was a small little foundation started by some of the most famous names in America today, Julia Child, Wolfgang Puck, Peter come to Alice Waters. And the idea was to really keep keep James Spirits legacy alive. He was a teacher who really made a difference in the way people and chefs thought about American cuisine. He was the one who really made people think that, you know, the best food in the in the nation is not just French food or other, you know, European food, that there was really the great melting pot should be celebrated in this country. And so when this foundation started, you know, there were only a few people. And to think today, the far reaching efforts of the foundation that we've given out, you know, millions of dollars in scholarship, we award winner consider the Oscars of the food industry. We have over four thousand two hundred members, but we have a much bigger footprint. We have social media. You know, I think he would be stunned. He was somebody who obviously wrote cookbooks, but he also wrote for magazines and newspapers. He couldn't have imagined the media today, the Internet landscape landscape that this foundation that's named for him is. You know, hundreds of thousands of people every week through all of our social media,

Speaker 2 can you talk a little bit about the diplomatic culinary partnership, the Women Inclusionary Leadership Program and program, some of the kind of the subsets and

Speaker 1 innovation that have been started? Sure. About two years ago, I was having conversations with Hillary Clinton's chief of protocol, concretion, Marshall, and one of the things that came up was that they needed ideas for chefs to actually create dinners for the State Department. You know, everybody knows that when diplomats and presidents or other countries come to the White House, there are steak dinners and they're usually created and cooked by the White House staff. But the Obamas actually started bringing chefs like Rick Bayless and and Marcus Samuelsson, James Beard award winners to the White House to actually cook a steak dinner while Hillary Clinton was seen that, you know, she was seeing a need to have conversations that were much more cordial. She basically felt that more happens over a dinner table than around a conference table. And that food is our common ground, as James Spirit said. And it seemed like a perfect sort of evolution of us helping the State Department select chefs to create dinners for diplomats who were visiting at the State Department. April Bloomfield, a James Beard award winner, for instance, created a luncheon that I was at with the prime minister of England just about two years ago, and it was an evolution. So what happened was Hillary Clinton and John Marshall in the State Department thought, you know, who could be better ambassadors for an aspect of what is the American cuisine? And we are what we eat that then chefs. So we created just about a year ago, in September of 2012, the American Chef Corps threw a diplomatic culinary partnership with the State Department. So, you know, it's an opportunity now for chefs to volunteer to whenever they're traveling overseas to bring a bit of their expertise, either to the embassies in those countries or to do other things at the State Department thinks might be a great way to connect between America and another country through the art of cuisine.

Speaker 2 Let's talk about the women. Yeah, I'm going to ask a favor. Yeah, because we interviewed Naomi Pomeroy, who was on that. Yes. Could you just name a few people and say them? Nice cut.

Speaker 1 Sure, sure. Well, I can talk to the women of color chefs.

Speaker 2 Right, right, right, right. As you mentioned, April seven, I was like, yeah, yeah. OK, who are some of the chefs involved in the culinary the diplomatic recognition?

Speaker 1 Well, when we formed the first American Chef Corps, when we announced at the State Department last fall the formation of American Chef Corps, there were so many great chefs that signed on immediately. Chefs in Oregon, such as Kathy Wims and Naomi Pomeroy and other chefs such as Jose Andres and others like you of that stature immediately said, I want to be a part of this American chef corps. And it's grown from 80 people last fall to over 200 now.

Speaker 2 OK, great for the women in Colaneri leadership program, especially, how important is it that the foundation is doing this, especially in a field that tends to be male dominated?

Speaker 1 Well, since I came to the foundation, we have since I came to the foundation seven years ago, I thought it was really important to champion diversity, not just ethnic diversity. I'm saying that when I came to the foundation seven years ago, I thought it was really important to champion ethnic diversity and gender diversity. And in fact, we used women in food as a theme about five years ago at the James Beard Awards. So we really need to champion the fact that, you know, women have not made it quite as far as men in the world of the culinary arts. Now, why is that? It's mostly because that's the way society is. You know, when you look at the Fortune 500 on a 12 to 15, women make the Fortune 500. So the world of food has really sort of mimicked and mirrored what the world of business is. And our foundation really just wants to champion women. Jane Spirit loved women. When you think about some of his best friends, they were all women. His editor was Judith Jones. When Julia Child came to America, they became great friends after she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Alice Waters was a great friend. I mean, he just really loved women and surrounded himself with great women. And I know that he would want us to champion the fact that women need more help to recognize the best of the best in the industry. So are women and so are women in culinary leadership program. It's just an evolution. And we're just starting it really to promote the fact that we want to help, recognize and help us promote the fact that women need to get a little more training in how to be restaurateurs or start their own businesses. And that's why we started the Women in Culinary Leadership program. And in fact, in this November, a few months from now, our James Beard gala is going to celebrate women, women and whites. And it's just the opportunity is always there to do a little to celebrate diversity in our food world

Speaker 2 of the boot camp program. Tell us a little bit about

Speaker 1 the Chef's Bootcamp for Policy. And change was started just a little over a year ago, very, very in tandem. And I'm sure our Chefs Bootcamp for Policy and Change was started about a year ago in tandem with the American Chef Corps. We thought, let's have an opportunity to teach chefs how to be advocates for the things that they care about agricultural sustainability, antibiotics and food, whatever they really care about. So our boot camp is really the way of our foundation gathering together about a dozen or so chefs from all over the country to really learn how to be advocates that get media training. And they learn a little bit more about how to do press interviews and really discuss and bond over. You know, chefs are the new stars in this world. If you think about it, they're the most like celebrities in America. I really you know, when I came here, I thought the tipping point was chefs are the new stars and people love them. People listen to them and so will government policymakers listen to them. And so we are just promoting that one step more, helping chefs learn how to be not only ambassadors, but to be great spokespeople for the for the causes that their communities are getting behind.

Speaker 2 You talked about the scholarship program earlier. And can I ask a question? Sure.

Speaker 3 Yeah, that speaks on the topic. So how does that philosophy mesh with James Beard's philosophy of food? Like how does that philosophy about chefs being ambassadors also meshed with James Bates philosophy of how he also approaches?

Speaker 1 Great. Great. I think James Spirit's best known for saying food is our common ground, and that is about diplomacy, connecting with people over a table, connecting with connecting with people through ingredients, through teaching people not only about how to make a recipe, but where it was sourced, where those ingredients came from. I think the fact that James Beard often said food is our common ground is a perfect segue way into our foundation, leading the charge for chefs to be ambassadors and diplomats.

Speaker 2 OK, that was great. So I heard she was an editor. Always get as good a different leadership awards at the conference. Yeah, to that. New questions. We didn't have a chance to talk about. But do you even know about the food conversation, which was like goes right

Speaker 1 in line with a lot of management camp?

Speaker 2 Sure, yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah, OK. So when I guess to talk about the question is where are the leadership? Yes, tell us about the leadership awards and.

Speaker 1 Well, everyone knows the foundation for our Oscars of the food industry, but many people aren't aware that for three years now we have also in the fall brought a food conference to talk about important topics on both nationally and internationally on the subject of food and agricultural sustainability and food and hunger. And at that conference, we also avoid would have called the James Beard Leadership Awards. And that's an opportunity for us to recognize people who might not normally be recognized at our annual awards, people who are fighting hunger, people who are really championing champion. I mean, the the James Beard Leadership Awards is an opportunity for our foundation to shine a spotlight on people who are making this world a healthier, safer, more sustainable place. And we're very proud of the fact that this will be our third annual leadership awards coming up in the fall. And we will be recognizing some great, great people who are really making a difference and fighting hunger and promoting agricultural sustainability and really just making food safer, better and more delicious for some people

Speaker 2 who wonder, OK, yeah,

Speaker 3 yeah. And what are they doing?

Speaker 2 What are their projects?

Speaker 1 They'd be interested to know if, you know, we can also share with you video of it, which I think would be really even more important.

Speaker 2 OK, because,

Speaker 1 you know, I just I'm trying to think of who do I want to, you know. Twenty 15 so far and then and we just announced the next five. Our leadership awards are being our leadership award honorees run the gamut from death, Echemendia helps that who have to speak slower because it's a lot of names in our leadership awards really recognize people in so many different fields in our world of food. For instance, Michelle Obama was honored for her Let's Move campaign. Deb Echemendia was honored for her work in starting the Food Corps. Gus Schumacher is being honored for his work with Wholesome Wave, which actually has created an incredible food stamp program where if you go to. Nelson Way, Gus Schumacher founded Wholesome Wave, where farmers markets doubled the value of food stamps so that people on the SNAP program can eat healthy and get double the value for fresh produce. We've learned so many other important folks, Tanzy, well into the Rainforest Alliance, people that we normally might not be recognized by the foundation at our annual May awards, people who are really making a difference in. Sort of. The purpose of our awards. Well, just think of like unsung heroes. Yeah, another honoree. Another honoree.

Speaker 2 Oh, gosh.

Speaker 1 She's now. Well, that's true, yeah.

Speaker 2 You already disagree, 2000.

Speaker 1 Oh, right, right, right, right, right, right. We're, you know, OK, the leadership awards honor everybody. I should should have a sound bite for this,

Unidentified I think of it. Yeah, well, you know. Well, I could have put in refrigerator.

Speaker 2 Well, the chef would not be happy. I know. Right. Of that kind of goes off. We can take we can take down a mountain. Yeah. See, people get right here. OK.

Speaker 1 I love our newest awards, the Leadership Awards, because they honor a variety of people who are making a difference and making this world a healthier, safer and more sustainable place. For instance, we've honored Michelle Obama for her Let's Move campaign. We honored Will Allen, who started growing power, which is really bringing food to the underserved in Detroit. We honor Gus Schumacher, who helped found wholesome wave, which doubles the value of food stamps at farmers markets across the country, where honoring people who run the Rainforest Alliance, who run the World Wildlife Fund. It's really an opportunity for us to really shine a spotlight on people who would normally have not been recognized by our little foundation. And I think what's really important is these are leaders in areas that really affect how America eats. And that's what really excites us about the leadership awards.

Speaker 2 About some of the scholarship winners who've gone on to have.

Speaker 1 OK, I can talk about too, I think, OK.

Unidentified You know, getting into the water.

Speaker 1 Why does a James Beard scholarship make a difference? Well, I can tell you about two people, Chef Ben Pollinger, who runs Oceana in New York City, was a James Beard scholarship recipient who's now running a restaurant that has got Michelin stars, great reviews in The New York Times and other places. And he's somebody who really is making a difference and giving back. And he has often said that without that scholarship money, it would have been much harder for him to pursue his education as a great chef, another wonderful scholar, another wonderful scholarship recipient as Gina Keatley. Gina runs the nourishing kitchen here in New York City. She's a dietitian and she creates and she's created a nonprofit that is helping others around the New York City eat better. They give out free turkeys at Thanksgiving, and she teaches families how to cook more nutritious for their family on a budget. So Gina is another, I think, shining star in our world of scholarship recipients. That that we can show it's on our website. Yeah, well, I think will go to our website and you'll see. There's so many scholars. There's we have a scholarship this year. We have a leadership video leadership award.

Speaker 2 That footage, because I'm reading it from the Internet, I really get it. It's probably true that there might be some some will just put me in touch. Yeah. Yeah. As long as you guys I think it's the same. Well, the point

Speaker 1 that if it's on our website, it's in the public domain, but in terms of quality, that you'll have to deal with the person who, you know, we we pay to do that.

Speaker 2 And also the scholarship winners. We would definitely. Yeah, I know. Been a good friend. Yeah, that'll be great. But then also this other woman and Gina Keatley program. Yes. Of the foundation awards in the early years, how many awards were given out then? Who were some of the first?

Speaker 1 You know what? That's. I really would have a problem, you know, I mean, I can do a little on that, but not not a lot. OK. Let's say our award started going to be twenty five years next year, so it's 20. I can't the date of the first day of work since I wasn't here, you know? So let me just talk more broadly about that. OK. Aren't the James Beard Awards are almost wow, the James Beard Awards have been. For over 20 years, our James Beard Awards have recognized the best of the best in the industry. Wolfgang Puck was the first recipient of the Outstanding Chef Award. Alice Waters also won an award. Soon after and were at Lincoln Center. Now we're over 2000 people come to celebrate the best of the best in the industry. But when we started over 20 years ago, it was on a world yacht with just a few hundred people. And there are awards have just grown exponentially year over year. There was a time when we recognized six regions of the country. Now we recognized 10 regions in the country. So we've really grown the foundation awards as the world of our American cuisine has grown as well.

Speaker 2 What do you think James Beard would say about the award?

Speaker 1 Well, you know, James James Beard loved a great party and he loved to talk about food, so there's no doubt that he would have loved the James Beard Awards. I mean, one of his proteges, Larry Forgan, who started a restaurant and American place in James Beard's name, really, he won a James Beard award for Outstanding Chef. I know he would have just been so proud of one of his proteges winning the Best Chef in America award. Or are there any somebody you should talk to? But he was a little shy.

Speaker 2 Yeah. You know, if you have a contract that we got. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1 And his son Mark is. Yeah. I mean, his he's the fortune family is amazing.

Speaker 2 I'm going to talking to them anyway because this you called the next generation and so

Speaker 1 who are you writing the column for.

Speaker 2 It's a guy. Oh right. OK, now good is about, you know, kind of restaurant dynasty's

Speaker 1 chefs and restaurant like John because there's a lot actually. Yeah. I suppose if you start thinking about going to be talking

Speaker 2 to the Forgione Bradley and Brian Ogden and George and Cedric and and also restaurant families like we're starting it interesting with Canalis. Oh, of course. Who they did their chef just won an award this year anyway. But yeah,

Speaker 1 maybe now should I be talking about any of the Oregon chefs who won, Jane? Sure.

Speaker 2 Yes, we would love that. Yeah. You know, I guess the question would be, how do you feel that the Oregon chefs kind of. Mm. I think are his spiritual proteges really.

Speaker 1 Well, you know, James Beard had to hometown's Portland, Oregon, and New York City, and I know that he would just be delighted to see how much recognition has been applauded and shown on the chefs of Portland, Oregon, from Chef Philip. He would have loved to see how many chefs in Oregon to say Portland, he would love to see how many of Portland chefs have been recognized from the. He would have loved to see how many chefs in Oregon and port, I want to say Portland, right? Yeah, well, he has he lived in Portland? Yeah. James Spirit's hometown. Well, James, we really had to hometowns in Portland, Oregon, and New York City, and there's no doubt that he would love to know today and there's no doubt that he would love the fact that so many of Portland's finest chefs have been recognized by the foundation. Chef Philip Blue to Gabriel Roker, who has won two James Beard awards more recently. Vitaly Palli, it's just really been an exciting time for Portland. And there's been so many other chefs who've been nominated or finalists. Chef Cathy wins. And then there's Naomi Pomeroy. They're all wonderful chefs that I think not only I think are carrying on the spirit of James Beard stood for in the way that they cook very, you know, farm to table in season creative that he would have loved to see how Portland's finest chefs are being recognized.

Unidentified Are there any new awards being considered

Speaker 2 for the future or.

Speaker 1 We know there's nothing there's nothing on the horizon, the you know, our awards have have grown through the years. We the James Beard Awards are always being worked on by an all volunteer awards committee to make sure that we are keeping pace with what's happening out there on the food scene. The biggest changes actually have been in the media awards, the way journalism has changed, even books. Now, e-books can be entered in the awards. So we always try to keep up with what's happening out there. What are some

Speaker 2 of the goals for future goals of the James Beard Foundation, how

Speaker 1 would you like to see it grow? Well, I'm really delighted with how far we've come in the 25 years that the foundation has been in existence the past seven years while I've been president. I'm really proud of the fact that we've grown our James Beard awards to incorporate leadership awards. We've got an annual food conference about twice a month. We have conversations here in this dining room, in the dessert house that we call Biard on books, that it's really an opportunity to for authors like James Beer to come and talk about the cookbooks or memoirs that they've written and really have a really what we love about Biard on books is that we are basically creating a salon environment to talk about what matters in the world of food, something that James Beard was doing every day in this house.

Speaker 2 How do you feel today as a chef, a teacher, a food writer or food personality is kind of embodying it is the James Beard of today of probably more than one person, I'm sure. Yeah. Those people.

Speaker 1 I would hesitate to mention one person in particular, because I think that, you know, all of the chefs who have one, James Beard Awards, really deserve recognition for what they're doing to carry on the mentoring, the inspiration factor, the fact that they are really showing what is excellent in American cuisine. So I really think that James Beard would really be applauding everybody. You know, I don't think here would ever say one chef is the heir to his. Legacy as the godfather of American cuisine, you know, he had a wonderful saying that I use as well, but people say, what's your favorite restaurant? He used to say, the restaurant that knows my name. Besides creating delicious food, what do you think the role of a chef is today? Well, there is no doubt that chefs are not just people cooking in the kitchens and creating a wonderful menu for diners to enjoy and whatever restaurants they run. I think chefs are the new stars of our world. People look to them not only to watch them be, you know, watch them on television and read their books and read their columns and read their blogs. The chefs are really the new influencers for what is really important in our world of food. And there is no doubt with the growth of food television. I mean, who would have thought and certainly James Beard would never have thought in his time that we would have two 24 hour a day cooking channels, that there would be something called the Internet where people would be following tweets and Instagram and Pinterest and all those things that, you know, today, it's the food culture in America is just so vibrant and alive. And I really know that James Beard would have loved that because he really got us started. You think about it. He was the first television chef to go on TV and teach America how to cook. It was so simple.

Unidentified And how has food journalism changed since the James Beard stuff?

Speaker 1 I think James Bird's head would be spinning today. You know, here was a man who wrote columns for Gourmet and Bon Appetit. And newspapers always were interviewing him. He wrote over twenty four cookbooks. He was on television, had his own TV show for a while, was on the Today Show in a way that, you know, today, all the morning talk shows have a feature every day on a chef cooking in the kitchen. He started all that. I think he would be just amazed and I think also very happy to see how important food as a subject matter has come to be in journalism. Well, you know, when you think about it, the most searched websites are food content. I mean, people can't get enough of it. And after all, what do we do? We get up in the morning. We think about what am I going to have for breakfast? What am I going to make for dinner? People are thinking about food all the time, even when they don't know it.

Speaker 2 Is she a pro or what?

Speaker 1 You know, I stopped a few times because I just wanted to get it right.

Speaker 2 Did you want to have.

Speaker 1 Yeah, yeah. I think one thing I know. I'm just trying to I mean, you know, there are things about James. Well, I love James Beard because he was such a down home guy that he really loved the fact that food is our common ground now. He used to say the best utensils were your hands and you saw that and saw that when you watched him on TV, he often didn't use a spatula or a spoon. He used his hands. And I thought that was really important, that he really was teaching us that, you know, to really love food. You got to get down and touch it. You've got to you've got to be one with it. And no, please don't be squeamish about making homemade dough and don't be squeamish about cleaning out that chicken. He really was somebody who had a great lust for food and ingredients.

Speaker 2 Can you give me that one more time about the refrigerator? You have another question because you're pulling quotes. And that was like, OK,

Speaker 1 yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, one of the things I love about James Beard is that he used to say the best to one of the things, I guess. Yeah.

Speaker 2 Feels good. Yeah.

Unidentified Now, this is. You say that you

Speaker 2 actually have footage of the of the animals to eat somewhere. Yeah. Even on, you know, there's

Speaker 1 little bits of it. Yeah.

Speaker 2 They claim that there is no footage. And I'm like, well, I saw it somewhere. Yeah. I mean, there's no there's not a lot of food on my hand now. Yeah.

Speaker 1 We're OK. Yeah. It's it's quite OK. All right. One of the things I love about James Spirit is, you know, when he was on television, Teach in America, How to Cook, he used to say that the best utensils are your hands. And that was really true when you watched him making a salad, cleaning out of chicken, making pasta. He would get down there never using a spatula or a spoon with his fingers. I mean, there's no doubt that he had a real lust for the ingredients that he used and he taught Americans and he taught all of us to get down with our food, to have a real passion for the ingredients that we use. And it's OK to get your fingers a little sticky

Speaker 3 because it must be like very touching. The food is like almost kind of like becoming one with it, with it and not being so removed from it. Right. That experience of actually being a part of the experience was

Speaker 2 probably very powerful. Yeah, right.

Speaker 1 Right. Well, yeah, I think that's interesting. I mean, you know, James Beard was also Mr.. James Beard was also someone who endorsed certain ingredients in certain food, and he was somebody out there who really was very commercial and, you know, he was somebody who did promote Tabasco and wanted people to actually use ingredients on the supermarket shelves as well. He was he was really a man of America. And the awards that we do today that are called the America's Classics, I know he would have loved them, too, because, you know, when James Beard used to travel, the first place he went was the local food markets or supermarkets. He felt that the way to get to know a city was through the food. You know, most of us, when we go plan a vacation, we're thinking about the museums, the cathedrals, sort of the sites. Well, his sites were all food based, and I love that about him, too. He was really the first to talk about culinary travel. And today now there's culinary tourism people. People actually plan their vacations around food. He would love that.

Speaker 2 And that would be an easy way to talk about testimony.

Speaker 1 Oh, yes, OK.

Unidentified Yeah. Well, you I'm fine.

Speaker 1 My last sip, you know, even though the James Beard Foundation is based in this, actually I find it interesting because I feel I feel a little frog in my throat. And I probably just I we can just take it from the sink to New York. Water's fine.

Speaker 2 Did you get down to Puerto Rico with the committee?

Speaker 1 No, I don't see I don't you know, I don't travel with the committee. You know, I start the Puerto Rico is actually a change in our regions. You know, we've made little tweaks, but I didn't I wouldn't want to go into all that. I mean, everything we've done even in the past seven years has been to recognize how things are changing in the food world. So media is the biggest changes. But we did a little redistricting with, you know, and I say we they did. That's why it's really not my purview. Right.

Unidentified Right. You know. I enjoy the kind of putting together the food itinerary for

Speaker 1 the committee for that. Yes, yeah, yeah. Now, let me look at what was the work of the committee is is so important to the awards. And I think it's really special. I people think that the foundation and the people who work here have a say in who wins the awards. It is truly a separation of church and state. And I think it's a really great thing. Yeah. You know. So, OK, test America, you know. Even though James Beard has. Even though the foundation is. Even though our foundation's home is here in James Beard's Greenwich Village townhouse, we have a much wider mission. We want to take our foundation as nationals we can, and we do that through all of our programs. But I'm really excited that we launched Tast America at this year, and I'm really excited that I'm really excited about our Taste America program. It is taking the foundation over five weekends to 10 cities all across the country celebrating the best of the best local cuisine and chefs in those cities. And it's just another way of saying James Beard Foundation is truly a national organization with national reach. And we know James Beard would have loved the fact that we are recognizing the best of the best in all 50 states across the country.

Susan Ungaro
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Susan Ungaro, James Beard: America's First Foodie." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 12 Aug. 2013,
(2013, August 12). Susan Ungaro, James Beard: America's First Foodie. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Susan Ungaro, James Beard: America's First Foodie." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). August 12, 2013. Accessed May 26, 2022


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