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You Can Make This Documentary About James Beard a Reality

Check out this great Kickstarter campaign for a documentary film about the legendary chef James Beard.

Beth Federici and Kathleen Squires

Taste Trekkers was able to launch its Food & Travel Expo with the help of a Kickstarter campaign, so we like to return the favor by highlighting other great food-related Kickstarter projects.

Beth Federici is an award winning documentary filmmaker and television producer. She recently she co-directed and produced the feature documentary “Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm”, and was awarded a 2010 Cine Golden Eagle Award. Kathleen Squires’ work has spanned book, blog, newsprint and glossy, with hundreds of published works ranging from restaurant reviews to travel features to pop culture paperbacks. A serial traveler who often lets a country’s cuisine dictate her itineraries, Kathleen has visited all seven continents and 60 countries, including stints living in London, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. Together, they are producing a documentary about the legendary chef James Beard.

We asked them a few questions about the project...

1. We've all heard the name James Beard. Tell us a bit about his personal story.

James Beard, dubbed by the New York Times as the “Dean of American Cookery,” was a Portland Oregon native who loved and regaled the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. He spoke of the importance of localism and sustainability long before those terms had entered the vernacular. At a time of “all things French,” Beard appreciated what America had to bring to the table. That tradition continues today and is embodied via modern culinary masters. A cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity and teacher, James Beard helped to pioneer and expand the food media industry into the billion-dollar business it is today.

2. Why was James Beard so influential in the food world?

Beard was a pioneer in many facets of the food industry before there really was an industry. He wrote 22 cookbooks at a time when it was very rare for a man to write a cookbook. He was the first TV chef in 1943 with his NBC show "I Love To Eat", he had a syndicated newspaper column and served as a restaurant consultant on some of the country's best restaurants including The Four Seasons. He introduced Julia Child to the world.

3. What has the reception been as you've reached out to people to be interviewed for this film?

Our list of interviewees reads like a who's who of the food world including TV host Ted Allen, Chefs Alice Waters and Jeremiah Towers, Chef Jacques Pepin, Jim and Julia's book editor Judith Jones, NY Times columnist Florence Fabricant, Iron Chef Marc Forgione, Chef Jonathan Waxman, author Ruth Reichl and columnist Gael Greene. (See our website for a full list.)


4. What stage is your film in? What will you use the money you raise on Kickstarter for?

James Beard

We have finished 99% of photography are beginning post production. The Kickstarter funds will be used for editing and animation.

5. Tell us a bit of trivia about James Beard that people might now know.

James Beard was an aspiring actor early in his life. He performed in theater in Portland and was close friends with a young actor named Billy Gable, who went on to be the Hollywood heart throb Clark Gable. Beard followed Gable to Hollywood in the 1920's and appeared in 2 Cecil B. DeMille films, including the crucifixion story King of Kings.

Published October 31st, 2014