2015 National Mature Media Award WINNER

2015 National Mature Media Award WINNER
The Creative Landscape of Aging Wins a NMMA Award!

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Culinary Greats-Legendary Chefs at age 60+

Food is trendy. It is no longer about TV dinners and microwave popcorn. The following chefs began their journeys many years ago to transform good eating to a fine art, a nutritious experience and big business.

Cecelia Chiang-(91)-Chinese- Raised in a very wealthy family in Shanghai, she was not allowed in the kitchen. As a young woman, Cecelia escaped occupied China and years later traveled to San Francisco to visit her sister. Serendipitously she met a friend there who planned to open a restaurant and then reneged but Cecelia went forward with the lease since she had already written a large nonrefundable check to the landlord on behalf of her friend. And so her restaurant Mandarin began and remained active for over 40 years. Chiang has taught Julia Child, James Beard, Alice Waters, and Danny Kaye.

Madhur Jaaffrey-(79) Indian- Born in Dehli, India, she did not cook at home when she was young and traveled abroad to study in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. After marrying she moved to New York City and in 1973, she published her first cookbook, An Invitation to Indian Cooking.She has written numerous cookbooks of Indian, Asian, and world vegetarian cuisines, and has won James Beard Foundation awards for some of her books. As a result of the success, Madhur also developed a unique line of mass-marketed cooking sauces.

Diana Kennedy-(88)-Mexican- Born in the United Kingdom, she arrived in Mexico with her husband who was a New York Times correspondent. She traveled throughout Mexico researching cooking techniques as well as the history of Mexican cuisine. Craig Claiborne urged her to give Mexican cooking lessons in New York City and then in 1972 Diana published her first book The Cuisines of Mexico and 8 more books would follow.

Jiro Ono-(86)-Japanese- Born in Japan, he is considered the world’s greatest sushi chef. After his father left the young 9 year old Jiro left home and never returned. He has been mastering sushi for the past 76 years and now is the subject of a documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Jiro’s tiny restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, is in Tokyo where he holds the Guiness Book of Records title for being the oldest 3 star Michelin chef. Reservations are not easy; you are encouraged to book up to a year in advance with a cash deposit of about $368.00.

Jacques Pepin-(76)- Born in France to restaurateurs, he learned to appreciate food at an early age. In the 1950s he was the personal chef to Charles DeGalle and then moved to the United States in 1959. He has appeared on numerous television shows and received a Daytime Emmy award in 2001 for his show Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home with Julia Child. Today he serves as Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute, teaches an online class for Boston University and writes a quarterly column for Food & Wine magazine.


Georges Perrier-(69)-French- Born in France and although not from a poor family, he began working at 14 and then moved to the United States when he was 21 years old. In 1970 he opened Le Bec Fin (French colloquial translation: fine palate) in Philadelphia which gained a 5 star reputation and was known as the leader of the "Philadelphia restaurant revolution". In January 2009, the French government awarded Perrier the Legion d'Honneur. In February 2012, Georges announced his retirement from Le Bec Fin by selling it to a former Le Bec manager. George still maintains ownership/interest in other restaurant venues.

Wolfgang Puck-(63)- Born in Austria and trained in France, he learned much of his cooking skills from his mother who had sometimes worked as a pastry chef. At 25, he moved to Los Angeles where, 15 years later he opened the award winning Spago restaurant. Now he has a gastronomic empire under his name which includes over 20 fine restaurants, catering services and more than 80 Wolfgang Puck Express operations, and kitchen and food merchandise, including cookbooks and convenience foods. He is the official caterer for the Academy Awards and his favorite food is macaroons.

Alice Waters-67)– Born in New Jersey, she moved to California to attend college. It was during her study abroad time in France that she began purchasing fresh foods directly and it was this experience that resonated with her and led to the development of her food fresh sustainable beliefs. In 1971 she opened the Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California which quickly became famous for its organic, locally-grown ingredients and is ranked among the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation with a mission to transform public education by using food to teach, nurture, and empower young people. In 1992, Waters was the first woman to be awarded the Best Chef in America by the James Beard Foundation and has received numerous other awards, written about a dozen cookbooks and is a Board member of relevant institutions. Alice is an internationally acclaimed food activist who has inspired the organic food revolution.

The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. -Gael Greene

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