OPINIONLeadership

Who was this James Beard guy?

Restaurant Rewind: No, he’s not the person who started the awards program of the same name. Nor did he turn his home over to visiting chefs. The industry pioneer’s contributions are far more nuts-and-bolts.

Restaurants will be hearing the name again and again as one of the industry’s premier awards program draws closer to its early May conclusion for 2024. Yet few in the business may know who James Beard was, now that he’s been gone for nearly 40 years.

This week’s episode of Restaurant Rewind answers the question of why Beard should be remembered, particularly within fine dining. Even those familiar with the media star’s legacy may not be aware of his full contribution to the industry he loved, like proving that Americans would tune in their TVs to learn more about cooking and food. He was the first to try the airwaves, beginning in 1946.

Nor might they know that he was a founder of Citymeals on Wheels, or that he was a fan of barbecuing when that form of prep was still considered low-brow.

Learn more about a figure who deserves to be remembered as a god of the business. Hit Play to learn how Beard lived, and the contributions he’s left behind.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Leadership

Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Neary 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.

Financing

Podcast transcript: Virtual Dining Brands co-founder Robbie Earl

A Deeper Dive: What is the future of digital-only concepts? Earl discusses their work to ensure quality and why focusing on restaurant delivery works.

Financing

In the fast-casual sector, Chipotle laps Panera Bread

The Bottom Line: The two fast-casual restaurant pioneers have diverged over the past five years, as the burrito chain has thrived while Panera hit a wall. Here's why.

Trending

More from our partners