Who's Who?

Some time ago you reported on the James Beard awards and their presentation to several prominent chefs (May 16). In the story, you mentioned James Beard and the James Beard Foundation several times but at no point did you tell your readers who James Beard is.

To you, and to others in your business, the information may be so basic that you assume everyone knows it. But most of your readers are not experts in the field, and you left us hanging.

I would appreciate an explanation of who James Beard is and why the awards are named for him.

M.R. JOURDANE, Long Beach

Beard was one of the best-selling cookbook writers in America. He is credited with hosting the first television cooking show in 1946 and was a teacher and mentor to many of the most prominent chefs in the Unite States. He died at the age of 81 in 1985.

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