BEST FOOD PODCAST James Beard Awards, Webby Awards

Who Was James Beard?

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Oct 12, 2020

Before the James Beard Awards and the James Beard Foundation, there was the man himself. Beard was the first celebrity chef of the TV era, preaching home cooking and fresh, local food even as frozen TV dinners gained popularity. But he also had to navigate the complexities of being a closeted gay man in a time when the kitchen was considered a place for women. Food writer John Birdsall talks with Dan about his new biography, The Man Who Ate Too Much, which traces Beard’s life from his start at queer cocktail parties in 1930s New York, to his winks to the queer audience as he became more famous, to the eventual need to change his public persona into a professorial bachelor, too obsessed with food to have time for a wife. As we hear, even today, James Beard remains one of the most misunderstood people in the food world.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

  • "Can You Dig It" by Cullen Fitzpatrick
  • "Homefront" by Jack Ventimiglia
  • "Burley Cue" by Steve Pierson
  • "Birthday Party" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
  • "Sweet Summer Love" by Stephen Clinton Sullivan
  • "Child Knows Best" by Jack Ventimiglia
  • "Minimaliminal" by Jack Ventimiglia
  • "Want It Need It" by Max Greenhalgh

Photo via Fales Library/NYU, courtesy of Jonathan Ned Katz.

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