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BACK TO JAMES BEARD

“Jim Beard always thought American,” says Larry Forgione. “If you asked about butter, everybody else talked about what they had eaten in Normandy or Devon; Jim would talk about butter he had tasted in Oregon or Wisconsin. He was constantly aware of what was going on in America. He became the guiding light.”

When James Beard died last year, Forgione, owner of An American Place Restaurant in New York, became part of the group that started the James Beard Foundation. They want to turn Beard’s New York home back into the cooking school that it was during his lifetime. (Julia Child and Jacques Pepin have already agreed to teach there.) They also hope that the house will become a center for information on American food and American products. But their ultimate dream is that the foundation will sponsor an apprenticeship program for American chefs.

So many restaurateurs are interested in this idea that on Beard’s birthday, May 5, restaurants all over the country will be giving dinners to benefit the foundation. Restaurants like New York’s Four Seasons, Berkeley’ Chez Panisse and our own Spago, Michael’s and La Toque, (among others) are participating. More restaurants are joining the benefit every day; if you want to find out if your favorite restaurant is participating, call 800 NATIONL.


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