Monday evening SoFAB had out the red carpet for the Southern premiere of The Last Magnificent, a film by Anthony Bourdain and Lydia Tenaglia on the fascinating life and career of Chef Jeremiah Tower, pictured here at left with Chef John Besh and Shaya Chef de Cuisine Zachary Engel. After viewing the film next door in the beautiful People's Health New Orleans Jazz Market, everyone enjoyed a chance to hang out with Jeremiah Tower at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, while enjoying delicious cracklins from Toups South, hummus from Shaya, and an amazing punch provided by Cathead Vodka.
After a graduate degree in Underwater Architecture from Harvard, Jeremiah Tower took a sharp turn in life’s path and landed in the kitchen of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. He rose to the role of Executive Chef and put the restaurant on the culinary map as the first to create and celebrate, American cuisine. "Farm to Table" wasn’t a phrase heard of then, as fine-dining restaurants in this country were exclusively serving French cuisine.
Chef then went on to create ‘Stars’ in San Francisco which is regarded as the birthplace of nouvelle, or California, cuisine. It was a revolutionary, elegant, unapologetic celebration of distinctly American culture. Stars was a complete game-changer.
Anthony Bourdain said of Chef Jeremiah: “He was, for a golden time, before and after the revolution, the most important chef in America. He was easily the most influential. Everyone cooked like Jeremiah Tower. Everyone wanted to BE Jeremiah Tower – or at least bask in his presence. His restaurant, STARS, became the template for the modern American restaurant. He was, arguably, the first celebrity chef.”
Chef Tower’s newest book and memoir Start the Fire, is being published on April 3, 2017. His most recent book, Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother is also available at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum's gift shop.
The Last Magnificent will be distributed nationally in theaters in late April, 2017.