Who is James Beard Anyway?

Who is James Beard Anyway?
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Who is James Beard Anyway?

Read on to learn more about James Beard.

James Beard essentially helped to create the food revolution in America by bringing the art of basic cooking to ordinary Americans. He also was a huge influence on chefs like Julia Child, Marcella Hazan and Craig Clairborne.

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After briefly attending Reed college, he tried to get into the film business. Beard began a catering business to pay the bills, but quickly learned that his true passion was food.

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In 1940, his cookbook Hors d’Oeuvre & Canapés became the first cookbook exclusively dedicated to cocktail foods.

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Beard moved to New York in 1945 and immersed himself in the culinary community. He became a consultant to many food programs and restaurants. He even ran his own restaurant in Nantucket and was still the center of the American food world, according to the James Beard Foundation.

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He created the James Beard Cooking School in 1955 and taught there for 30 years. The cooking schools are in New York and Oregon.

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He has left behind numerous cookbooks, but his most important contribution to the culinary world was turning American cuisine into recognized, excellent food. His beliefs about food were simple and still relevant today. Restaurant industry consultant and author, Clark Wolf espouses Beard's mission."Eat locally, seasonally, and if you are to use good food well, use it in the thriftiest way possible," he says.

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The James Beard Awards are upon us. In the culinary world, these are the equivalent of the Academy Awards. So who is this James Beard anyway?

Check out the slideshow above to learn more about James Beard.

Image Credit: Arthur Schatz via The LIFE Picture Collection

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