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Chef Tell: The Biography of America's Pioneer TV Showman Chef Hardcover – October 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

Review

     "Chef Tell made cooking on TV the new frontier. He did it with humor, a thick German accent and was rather bossy. He showed, we learned, we laughed. I am honored to be a part of the book!"--Jan Yanehiro, First Co-Host, Evening Magazine, San Francisco.
      


 "Tell never forgot that he was the guest... never took over his segments from the host, and that added to his genuineness.This book gives you so much: a taste of Tell, the person, and his taste for delicious food."--Art Moore, Executive in Charge of Production for LIVE! with Kelly & Michael
  


   "Chef Tell was a man of great humor and incredible skills in the kitchen. He brought wonderful food to the table as well as love and laughter. The author, Ronald Joseph Kule, did an impeccable job bringing to life Chef's humor and passion for food."--Iron Chef Cat Cora


 "Author Ronald Joseph Kule's excellence can be felt in the pulse that beats from within the pages. His work about the late Chef Tell is going to stir more than just a few kitchen pots. Ron took a complex, infuriating, yet ultimately appealing character, and produced one superbly crafted work of literature." -- J. David Miller, Award-winning Author/Sports Journalist/head coach, AAA Semi-pro champion SoCal Coyotes
   


"WOW! A wonderful account of one man's voyage... engaging, and takes you through all the emotions of life, leaving you to decide what is next for you, and how you will make the most of your today... a testament of the human spirit."--Tracy Repchuk, #1 Amazon.com Best Selling Author and Top Woman Speaker in the World Online Business Strategy.

“Chef Tell lived an amazing life and truly paved the way for many chefs who followed on TV. A pioneer and true artist, his story is nothing short of inspirational. From living through the bombings of Germany at birth, to bringing about a revival of Philly through five-star restaurants, this is a book every chef and foodie will want to read.”
—Shelley Jaffe, Executive Chef and Roving Foodie

From the Author

I had come to the conclusion that no one else was going to write about the life of Chef Tell Erhardt and that I better do something about that. Not sure that it was a worthy endeavor -- family and friends I'd met were in opposite camps about the man: some loved him, and others hated him, I wanted to research the facts and decide for myself. The easiest pretext was to work under the guise of writing his biography.
In December of 2011, my sister, Bunny Erhardt, now a widow since Chef had passed away in 2007, acceded to my request for access to her friends and acquaintances, and permission to write Tell's biography.
Embarking on my quest to discover whether this man was worthy of my time as an author or not, I developed a three-part outline loosely fitted to the early, middle and later years of his lifetime -- a beginning, middle and end to the story, if you will.  As data gathered on my desk and on my sheets of papers surrounding my work area, I fit these into the corresponding sections of that outline. Eventually, a timeline list of major events took shape, which would become my main guide to my work.
As people's names popped up within the information about Tell's life story, I jotted these down and notched a mark each time the same name appeared. The list soon directed me to certain individuals who would become subjects of interviews I hoped to conduct for personal anecdotes and to qualify some of the data which, in some instances, added up to conflicting accounts.
In other words, fact and fiction overlapped more than a few times -- not that the proverbial "truth is stranger than fiction" was happening, but either the subject of my book had lied to the press, or journalists had researched their article facts poorly or not at all. The toughest part of my work in researching this book was sifting the actual facts from the widespread panoply of continued falsehoods among articles, media interviews and the chef himself!
My first in-person interview came in Philadelphia in the administrative office of Georges Perrier, a contemporary of Chef Tell and one of the Top Five premier French chefs in America. Truthfully? I had never conducted a live interview with anyone before as a writer. Sure, I had met and sold many business executives in the financial and healthcare industries in my previous incarnation for the last 18 years -- working in marketing sales internationally, but this was my first interview with my "Author" hat on my head.
The questions asked were never a part of my notes. Perrier had agreed only to 15 minutes at first -- not much time to request more than a simple, "Tell me, chef, what was important about Chef Tell?" If any more time passed, I would wing it, follow my instincts.
Perrier was a wonderful interview. He waxed on about his friendship with Tell, and I wrote highlights on my pad of paper, letting my small recorder capture the actual phrases and nuanced details for later playback. I prodded infrequently and only to let Perrier loose. In the end, the clock had flown by for over an hour, and we were hugging, perhaps with a hint of tears in our eyes -- he had not known that Nicoletti had overdosed years earlier. His summation of the woman said it all succinctly, "Mon dieu, I did not know this. I knew this woman; she was simply tall, bright and beautiful."
Downstairs, having had to shell out a twenty-dollar bill to retrieve my rented car from the union-run, Philly parking garage, I made a mental note to bring enough change to feed the street parking meters at all future interview meetings. I also rewarded myself that evening with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich, figuring that would be the worst of my gauntlet of interviews I would have to pass through toward completion of this book.
I was on my way, proud that I had struck out on this course, because Perrier, a man at the top of his profession -- the same one as Chef Tell's -- had confided in me two significant morsels: "Chef Tell was a giant of a man. I miss him. I loved him," and "You know, maybe I'll have you write my biography, because I like you. But, of course, it would be a very naughty book!" (His remark made us both laugh, which further broke the ice between us, making for a more intimate repartee from that point; also giving me reason to reply, "Georges, perhaps you should wait until you read my book on Tell; you may not think I can write a book well.")
Each interview and turn of the discoveries unearthed in my quest to find out if I would love or hate the man who was Chef Tell, pushed the work inexorably toward a completion. The details, however, will have to wait for the next installments of this blog. Sprinkled among them will be never-released, new Chef Tell recipes that Baby Boomers and cooks of all ages will want to prep and cook in their kitchens.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing; 1 edition (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626360049
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626360044
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,605,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Internationally published biographer, poet, author of non-fiction and novels, and sales-training expert Ronald Joseph Kule... it all sounds pretty fancy, but I'm just a guy writing to add something positive to this world situation in which we all live.

People tell me, I write well. Readers say, "Kule creates emotional stories... he paints pictures with his words." Well, I write what I see in my imagination, or what is right in front of me.

Growing up in a cramped, suburban house, competing for space against seven brothers and sisters, two parents and, most times, at least one dog, several fish, and a score of kids living on our block, I had to learn quickly how to hold my ground.

Being the best liar of the bunch, it turned out, was pretty good practice for writing fiction, albeit painful: I was often caught and paddled or strapped for lying. One time, Mom even broke a wooden spoon and a yardstick on my behind!

At 23, I unable to face sleeping on friends' couches and begging for PB&J sandwich money any longer, I began what would become a 39-year, international sales and sales management career that supported my writing and spawned an approach to selling and sales-training that lead to my first published book, SELL BETTER SELL EASIER SELL ANYTHING ARTFULLY. Years later, I followed with my three-book series, LISTEN MORE SELL MORE. (The first book is available now; the next two books will be published in 2015.)

Born in Bogota, Colombia, descended from Polish-immigrant, paternal ancestors who labored in the coal mines of Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, and blue-blooded, Colombian-Chilean maternal relatives, I learned to appreciate ethnic values and cultural differences by observing directly the disparate social classes and living conditions of Colombia, Peru and Chile.

My heritage paint-brushed a wanderlust onto my life-canvas: I've spent time in 35 countries and performed public-speaking engagements in 17.

I laugh often and experience a wide panoply of emotions just for fun. Thought-provoking, rich characterizations written within simple story lines are among my favorite books to read and write.

Listening to early-day, "organic" jazz music, admiring beautiful women and watching competent people do their thing... and eating lots of ice-cream!... are among my favorite activities, aside from writing!

If you curl up with one of my books and find yourself breathless, provoked, inspired, changed, and feeling satisfied, I will have done my job.

Currently, home and work are based in Clearwater, Florida, but my new passport needs more stamps, and my bags can be packed on a moment's notice!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Maggy Graham on December 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Fans of the Cooking Channel, as well as those who are making cooking their profession, may find this book the perfect companion to their morning coffee. It opens the door to a rarified world----the high end of cooking: the rites of passage that make a world-class chef and restaurateur.

We watch "Chopped" and all the other cooking shows on TV and hear the famous chefs make their pronouncements regarding the transformations of the contents of mystery baskets. But what we don't hear is how these judges, and every other Cooking Channel chef, got there: the thousands of hours each one of them spent perfecting their arts, and the unique challenges they overcame in order to rise to their current positions. And until now, we haven't heard the story of the person whose shoulders they are standing on: the original TV showman chef, Chef Tell.

Chef Tell was a chef's chef, beloved in the world of chefs because he was a big man with a generous heart who could, very simply, cook great food. More than that, he was a man of boundless energy, relentless pursuit of competence and correct discernment of opportunities as they presented themselves. He had the courage of a pioneer, the soul of a teacher and the charisma of a star, which is what he became.

Kule's book shows us a man who rose from nothing, driven by the simple statement of his mother during the dire poverty of wartime: "You will never go hungry, if you become a chef." The narrative is rich in detail gleaned from interviews with those who knew him personally, without bogging down into a dry recitation of facts. The relationships brought to life in the story give us a real sense of connection with the man himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda on October 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a well written, hold-your-interest book that is never dull. The subject, Chef Tell, was a larger than life figure and this book captures that persona. You get the good, the bad and the ugly but after all isn't that what we want to know about our celebrities? When you purchase this book you also get the recipes for one of Chef Tell's 7 course meals. What a treat! This is a great read even if you did not know Chef Tell in his prime. You come to know him and love/hate him as you journey through his life across the globe. In the end, I wound up loving him despite his faults in life.

The author, Ronald Kule, is a great writer. He has other books I have read which are also great reads.

Linda
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tony Baarda on November 22, 2013
Format: Audible Audio Edition
My wife and I were good friends with Chef Tell and we have been looking forward to reading this book. Ron really bought Chef Tell back to life and accurately portrayed his incredible life's story, warts and all. Chef Tell was an amazing character and the people whose lives he touched will remember him fondly. Thanks for reminding me what a great guy Chef Tell was and how lucky we were to be a part of his story. I am quite sure that Tell would have approved of Ron's version of his life's journey and he would have loved reading this book. Thanks for the memories of a great human being. We just wish we could still "see you".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chefs Charles Knight & David Knight on January 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It reads like a real life novel. I was surprised by the excellent writing ability of the author. Not only is it a chronological account of the life of one of the world's greatest chefs and pioneer TV chef showman, it's a series of word pictures that ties together the complexities of each aspect of Chef Tell's life and career. It's a "Must Read" for all Foodies especially aspiring TV cook or chef.

Chef Charles Knight
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By vicki on June 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I approached this book without knowing anything about Chef Tell and was pleasantly surprised. It's an enjoyable book about a chef’s chef and an entertaining read for all Foodies and recipe historians. What I found interesting is insight to the progression of cooking shows on TV. It's an entertaining and well written book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By diane austin on November 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What an interesting and true story by an incredible story teller. Now I will admit that I had never heard of nor seen Chef Tell before this author's introduction yet I found myself turning the pages with an avid interest. Ron Kule writes about him in such a way that I could not help but feel I knew the Chef personally.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Welge on February 8, 2015
Format: Audible Audio Edition
We liked the book so much that we bought 5 copies to give to our fellow dining enthusiasts. Philadelphia was lucky to have Chef Tell. He was an important cog in our restaurant renaissance. Ronald Joseph Kule captured Chef Tell and the dining scene perfectly.
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