American Masters

Chris Cosentino shares the mysterious story of how he discovered James Beard’s legacy.


We didn't really have much education about Mr. Beard when I was in culinary school.

I was in school 92 to 94, in Johnson Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mr. Beard wasn't part of that.

Nobody really explained to us who he was.

When I started working in Washington, D.C. for Mark Miller, I was living in a neighborhood, in an area called Mount Pleasant, and a book slid right in the slot.

No idea where it came from.

It was a book that I'd never seen before. It just showed up at my house, and I think it was maybe one of the neighbors that knew I was cooking but had access to all these books and it came with a little piece of paper and it said, 'not for resale.'

It was a book that hadn't come out yet.

It was kind of an autobiography, a biography of Mr. Beard.

Pretty eye-opening, you know. So I think that was like maybe fall of 94, you know, and it was the first introduction I really had to him

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