I was flipping through my feed reader and came across the news around the same time that fellow-Philly native Dan at The Hungover Gourmet dropped me a note that Friedman Paul Erhardt, better known as Chef Tell, had died at the age of 63. According to his bio:
He was the executive chef at the Kronen Hotel in the Black Forest for over a decade before arriving in the United States in the early seventies. He moved to the United States after accepting a head chef position at Philadelphia's Marriott Hotel.
But Erhardt gained notoriety when he landed a 90-second cooking spot on "Evening Magazine," a Philadelphia based television program syndicated nation wide.
His stint on "Evening Magazine" opened the door to his television career. Since then Tell has appeared on "QVC," "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and most recently, "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." His quick wit and legendary cooking have led to other opportunities.
I'm hoping that Dan has a little more to say about Chef Tell's impact than I do, as I was still pretty young when he was on television regularly. I remember him a bit, though, and he's there with Jeff Smith and Julia Child in terms of being the earliest food television personalities that I can recall.
The Philadelphia Daily News has a nice obituary, which outlines his career and impact. I like the part about the Swedish Chef.
I also wasn't aware that he was local. I suppose that comes with being a kid and thinking that anyone on television was just "famous," and therefore didn't belong to any real geographic place. If you asked me where the person was from, I probably would have told you he was "from TV." For example, I never would have guessed that kids in Minnesota would have no idea who Captain Noah was. (Sorry, had to throw that out there for all of you folks from the Delaware Valley!)
Labels: Chef Tell