CHEF TELL The Biography of America's Pioneer TV Showman Chef
ACTION ADVENTURE BIOGRAPHICAL FUNNY MELODRAMA DRAMA FAMILY
1960s & '70s,1980s & '90s,20th Century (multiple decades)
Ronald Joseph Kule
Juggling mind-boggling fame, fortune, women and other (alleged) distractions, WW II survivor Friedemann Paul Erhardt becomes CHEF TELL, America's first syndicated "rock-star" TV chef. He charms 40,000,000 Baby Boomers for four decades until his unexpected death in 2007, ehich lights up the Internet.
Born as bombs dropped on Stuttgart, Friedemann Paul Erhardt survived meager rations, post-WW II Germany, and, later, the bombastic arguments of his parents debating his future. His answer? He followed his heart and his dream to become a chef who would one day cook for millions, no matter what.
The day a TV syndicator greenlit his cooking show, Tell phoned his out-of-town wife Bunny and told her he would teach his cooking class. Instead, he suffered a heart attack and died alone at home. Funny, irreverent, skilled, and beneficent out of the limelight, his comet burned out.
Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Grand Cayman Island, Germany
Based on a True Story
Plot - Premise
Rags to Riches
Plot - Other Elements
Mature Audience Themes
Main Character Details
Name: Freidemann Paul Erhardt (CHEF TELL)
Key Traits: Adventurous,Masculine,Aspiring,Aggressive,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Blunt,Empathetic,Selfless,Engaging,Skillful,Funny,Visionary,Educated,Leader,Unapologetic,Charming,Badass,Outspoken,Heroic,Seductive,Insecure
Additional Character Details
Name: Bunny Erhardt
Key Traits: Modest,Charming,Narcisstic,Complex,Confident,Sexy,Religious,Decisive,Empathetic,Selfless,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Gracious,Romantic,Educated,Honorable,Skillful,Sophisticated,Strong Moral Code
Additional Character Details
Name: Christine Hess
Key Traits: Aspiring,Modest,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Blunt,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Faithful,Skillful,Flexible,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Unapologetic,Selfless,Visionary,Leader
Additional Character Details
Name: Torsten Erhardt
Age: 30-50 range
Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Decisive,Outspoken,Skillful,Educated,Masculine,Badass,Aggressive,Complex,Blunt,Greedy,Secretive,Insecure,Manipulative,Unapologetic
CHEF TELL accomplished more in one lifetime than many others would do in six. He started from nothing, barely survived the aftermath of devastated Germany after WW II, set out on his path to culunary stardom at the age of "13 and a half," vowing to avenge his mother's self-inflicted death and fulfill her promise to him that :You will never go hungry if you become a chef." The young boy developed into one of the culinary arts' most popular, hated and envied TV stars - he eas, in fact, the first synducated-TV star chef. While the story becomes a classic rags-to-riches tale, its intriguing underbelly reveals not only the early days of all-out hedonism in America but also the hidden desire of the protagonist Tell to one day find the one woman who will love him as he is, flaws and all, and never abandon him. And, like the fame he craved for unselfish reasons, he does find that woman, who unexpectedly becomes his widow - one of millions of fans who will crave to their graves another chance to watch Chef Tell and hear him say, "I SEE YOU!" (his famous sign-off.)
Biography about the cuisine chef who was a pioneer on TV, transforming the art of cooking into something acclaimed by the general public. Born in Germany and surviving WWII, Tell had to go against his family to devote himself to gastronomy. For his immense talent, he was soon recognized and went to work in famous restaurants. Falling in love with a miss, he moved to the United States, where he ended up becoming a kitchen celebrity, being invited to appear on TV.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
It is accurate.
Draw of Story
Tell's backstory, when he was still a young boy during WWII, and his problems with his father, and the difficulties after his mother's suicide. The story begins with a high level of emotion as we have a sense of the series of events that made Tell a strong person who valued the present moment.
The history part of the beginning helps us understand the environment in which Tell lived and his personality, but this historical information is narratively uniquely interesting for us to understand how Tell thinks and acts. With an almost historical nature, this excess of information ends up moving us away from the center of the biography, which is the story of a boy who dreamed of becoming a chef.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is the dream of a young man who fights for what he wants, even in the midst of an environment of destruction and lack of perspective.
Tell's fans would be interested in the work, for sure. Biography and gastronomy fans could also be interested.
If the adaptation focuses more on Tell's dramatic arc, as a hardworking young dreamer who fights day by day for his goals and enjoys each day as if it were his last, it would have great potential for awards.
Similar Films/TV Series
JULIE & JULIA: THE STORY OF A WOMAN FRUSTRATED WITH HER JOB WHO DECIDES TO REPLICATE THE RECIPES OF JULIA, A FAMOUS COOKBOOK AUTHOR. RATATOUILLE: A YOUNG ASPIRING CHEF ENDS UP LEARNING TO COOK HAUTE CUISINE AND BECOMES A GREAT CHEF.
What’s New About the Story
The central character brings originality to the narrative because, besides being a real character, he is very nuanced and interesting.
Tell is a pretty complex character all by himself. His life is a wonderful source material for building a more robust character, full of nuances and driven by a personality explained by a difficult childhood.
Uniqueness of Story
Not a rare gem, but certainly entertaining. The adaptation would need to bring more dramatic elements to the narrative. The book itself works as a base material for research on Tell's life. However, a little more punch and emotion are needed to reach a new level.
Film: Streaming TV Series: Limited Run / Mini-Series
The book is a solid compilation of the events of Chef Tell's life, in chronological order. It's an interesting material for the basis of a miniseries or a movie about the life of one of the pioneers of TV cooking shows. But apart from being a media celebrity, his life story is what could actually bring something interesting to the screen. In the middle of WWII, he was a boy who had a strict father who was against his dream of becoming a cook and a mother who committed suicide. Tell has managed to thrive and pursue his dreams in the face of so much adversity, which makes his story exciting and beautiful to follow. His story also presents many exciting events with famous and anonymous people, delivering a portrait of an era. He is a complex character who used to live in the present time like no one else because he saw people nearby dying early, and survived the terrible war environment. Despite having that "carpe diem" side, he is also very focused and down to earth, flirtatious and kind of lonely at the same time, transforming himself into a delightful character to see on screen. The book actually brings this compilation of situations and events about Tell's life, but for the adaptation, it would be necessary to develop narrative, structure, and character further so that the focus could lie on the story rather than the biography.