Chef Jeremiah Tower walked into Chef Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in the 1970s. He needed a job. She asked him to fix the soup bubbling away on the stove top. Tower added a little cream, a pinch of salt and pepper, a good glug of white wine and landed the job. From that kitchen a new cuisine would be born — one that would rock cooking worldwide. The rest, as they say, is food history.
Tower would eventually leave Chef Waters (after a dispute over authorship of Chez Panisse’s recipes) and strike out on his own in the Bay Area. He went on to help invent and cement American Cuisine as a powerhouse of international cookery. He was the sort of enfant terrible, bon vivant celebrity chef that had yet to exist in Gordon Gekko’s hedonistic 1980s America. He rose to the top of the top. Then he disappeared — for 15 years. And now there’s a documentary film about the rise, the disappearance, and the comeback.
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent has been on the festival circuit for the past year, and this weekend the trailer dropped for wide release.
The doc reveals the birth of American cuisine through the life of one of America’s greatest chefs. The documentary was directed by Lydia Tenaglia who helped bring Anthony Bourdain to the world when she produced Bourdain’s first show, A Cook’s Tour. Bourdain served as an executive producer and is one of many celebrities and celebrity chefs interviewed in the film.
Bourdain extrapolated on why he chose to produce a film about Chef Tower in a recent interview, citing Chef Tower’s enigma and lack of acknowledgement for his role in food history. Or as Bourdain puts it, “I mean, like those early Soviet photos where they airbrush out Trotsky. You know. It just ain’t right. The man deserves his due.”
The doc hits theaters in America on April 17th. In case you want to see more of Chef Tower in his heyday, check out this old episode of the fantastic 1980s cooking show Great Chefs for a little taste.
(Via Grub Street)