Get to know some of America’s most iconic chefs through American Masters’ Chefs Flight: four documentaries on iconic chefs James Beard, Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Alice Waters. The films premiered in May, and both James Beard: America’s First Foodie and Jacques Pépin – The Art of Craft are available to stream online.
American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie
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. Written and Directed by Elizabeth Federici. Produced by Elizabeth Federici and Kathleen Squires. A production of Federici Films LLC and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET.
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. Directed by Marilyn Mellowes. A WGBH production.
American Masters: Jacques Pépin – The Art of Craft
Discover the story of Chef Jacques Pépin (b. December 18, 1935), 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—joining 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. Produced and directed by Peter L. Stein. Executive producer Michael Isip. Co-executive producer Susie Heller. A KQED Production in association with THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET.
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. Originally broadcast March 2003. Directed by Doug Hamilton. A production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET.