Celebrity chefs didn’t exist until the 1970s

How did running a kitchen go from menial, unskilled work to one of the most celebrated professions in America? Author and blogger Andrew Friedman brings the story of the rise of haute cuisine and the creation of the celebrity chef to “Salon Talks.”

Friedman’s book, “Chefs, Drugs & Rock and Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits and Wanderers Created a New American Profession” traces the history of New American cuisine, its European influence, and the odd lot of folks who were pivotal in the development of the thriving food culture we all know today.

Say what you want about working in the food business now, it’s nothing compared to restaurant work in the late ‘60s and early 1970s. Professional operations with money in the budget for social media campaigns just did not exist. In fact, back then, Friedman says, “if you were an American and you were in a kitchen, you had probably made a wrong turn somewhere in your life. Somebody quoted in the book says, ‘It was the first thing you did after you got out of the Army, and the last thing you did before you went to jail.’”

Friedman chronicles the sometimes bumpy road to success in restaurant cities all over the country. He focuses his gaze on the two coasts. In California, he charts the rise of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Stars in Los Angeles. In New York, Friedman connects the dots between restaurants like The Quilted Giraffe, owned by Barry and Susan Wine, Chanterelle, created by Karen and David Waltuck, and Michael “Buzzy” Okeefe’s The River Cafe. He then traces the path of kitchen revolutionaries like and Larry Forgione, Charlie Palmer and David Burke.

Watch the video above to find out more about how American cuisine developed and the chefs behind it, as well as Friedman’s commentary on how Anthony Bourdain’s death rocked the food community.

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