Archive for the ‘chefs’ Category

Portland, Ore.

James Beard home
2223 SW Salmon Street (private)

Now an apartment building, this site was once the home of culinary great James Beard (1903-1985). His mother operated a boarding house at this location – she was, in Beard’s words, “a strong-headed, opinionated woman, addicted to theater and the art of entertaining.” She also ran a catering service for her wealthy friends, along with her business partner, Canton-born Jue Let. Beard recalled that his mother’s culinary colleague “taught me ‘taste memory,’ my trump card ability to recapture thousands of memories of eating, right back to my childhood.”

Beard studied locally at Reed College, but in 1922, was expelled from the school for homosexual liaisons with other students and with a professor. (Ironically, in 1974, he received an honorary degree from Reed, after he had become a celebrity.) After the scandal, Beard took voice lessons in London from Enrico Caruso’s coach and later returned to Portland, where he pursued a career as an actor.

Eventually, Beard relocated to New York City, where he achieved fame as the author of numerous best-selling cookbooks.


The well-known culinary institute, the James Beard Foundation, was named in his honor and is located at the site of the Greenwich Village home he shared with his lover, architect Gino Cofacci.


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