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"Inspiration" for the Swedish Chef dies...

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Tim, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    'Chef Tell' Erhardt Dies at 63

    Friedman Paul Erhardt, a German-born cook known as "Chef Tell" who was one of America's pioneering television chefs, has died. He was 63.

    Erhardt died of heart failure on Friday at his home in Upper Black Eddy, about 25 miles east of Allentown, his family said.

    Erhardt's jolly personality, thick German accent and wit made him a fixture on television shows such as "Regis and Kathie Lee" and comedy skits on "Saturday Night Live." He was also said to be the inspiration for the Swedish chef on "The Muppet Show."

    "Tell was able to incorporate humor and the entertainment factor into his cooking," Victoria Lang, who regularly produced Erhardt's segments for "Regis and Kathie Lee," told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Born in Stuttgart, the son of a newspaper owner, Erhardt earned the nickname "Tell" after playing William Tell in a school play. He trained in restaurants and hotels throughout Europe.

    He made his first appearance on a local Philadelphia TV show "Dialing for Dollars" in 1974. That was followed by a 90-second cooking spot on a nationally syndicated show, which blossomed into appearances on "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," specials for QVC and a PBS program, "In the Kitchen With Chef Tell."

    "He was the first of the great showman chefs," former Inquirer restaurant critic Elaine Tait said. "Up until his era, chefs stayed in the kitchen."

    He was also known on the Philadelphia dining scene as the owner of several restaurants in the 1970s and 80s and as a culinary educator, cookbook author, and spokesman for major cookware and food product lines.

    For the last 2 1/2 years, Erhardt taught at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.

    A diabetic, Erhardt just completed a new book about cooking for diabetics based on his own experience of working himself off insulin naturally by changing his recipes.
  2. erniebert1234ss

    erniebert1234ss Well-Known Member

    Huh...I thought that Julia Child was the inspiration for the Swedish Chef...:D

  3. mikebennidict

    mikebennidict Well-Known Member

    Tell me you're kidding.

    Of course I didn't know till now The Swedish Cheff was inspired by anyone.

  4. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie Well-Known Member

    I thought I was the inspiration for the Swedish Chef. In an audition for Jim Henson, years before the Muppet Show, I did a double-talking Swedish character.

  5. hollylime

    hollylime Member

    That is sad, but quite funny to realize he was based on a real person. I wonder what other characters were inspired by real people?
  6. doc hopper

    doc hopper Well-Known Member

    How was Chef Tell the inspiration for The Swedish Chef? I remember Chef Tell when I was a kid and I don't see it.
  7. doc hopper

    doc hopper Well-Known Member

    Maybe it's more of a case of "there's a chef on TV - we need a TV chef character" instead of "Chef Tell is a great character - let's do Chef Tell."
  8. Was Once Ernie

    Was Once Ernie Well-Known Member

    I just saw an "in memorium" piece on TV this morning... and Chef Tell does bear a small resemblance to the Swedish Chef. They have similar shaped faces and moustaches. Maybe it was his look that was the inspiration more than any other factor.


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