James Beard, called "the quintessential American cook" by Julia Child, laid the groundwork for the gastronomical revolution that surged in the second half of the 20th century.
Beard trained as an actor but found his life's work in food: he was the author of 27 cookbooks, founded his own cooking school, and made history in 1946 by hosting the first cooking show on television.
Anointed the "dean of American cookery" by the New York Times, Beard is now associated with the best in American restaurants and cooking. His most important legacy is his celebration of American food and food traditions.
Mitchell Davis is a cookbook author, food journalist, and scholar pursuing a doctoral degree in Food Studies at New York University. A graduate of Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, Davis majored in Food and Beverage Management and spent two years cooking and eating in France and Italy before settling in New York City to write about food.
He joined the staff of the James Beard Foundation in 1993. Davis's most recent cookbook is Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter, 2006), he is the author of two other cookbooks, Cook Something (Macmillan, 1997) and The Mensch Chef (Clarkson Potter, 2002), and is the co-author with Michael Ginor of Foie Grasâ€¦A Passion (Wiley, 2000), which won the Inernational Cookbook Review's Prix la Mazille for Best International Cookbook of the Year.
Davis's articles about food, restaurants, and travel appear regularly in magazines such as GQ, Food & Wine, and the Art of Eating. His academic work focuses on the role of restaurant reviews and their influence on taste, he is a frequent guest lecturer and panelist on a variety of food-related topics, and has taught food and theory classes at New York University and Cornell University.
Betty Fussell is the author of ten previous books, including The Story of Corn and My Kitchen Wars.
A contributor to the New York Times, The New Yorker, Saveur, Food & Wine, Gastronomica, and other publications, she has also lectured widely on food history. Western born, she lives in New York City.
Judith Jones was Julia Child's editor at Knopf and author of The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food.
Barbara Kafka's most recent book, Vegetable Love, with 750 imaginative yet easy vegetable dishes, was honored as a Book-of-the-Month Club main selection and the 2006 IACP award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.
Her previous book, Soup A Way Of Life was on the Los Angeles Times best seller list. Her Roasting A Simple Art, won the Julia Child Cookbook Award and was a Book-of-the-Month-Club main selection as was her preceding book Party Food.
Ms. Kafka has written on a regular basis for The New York Times. She has also written a monthly column, "The Opinionated Palate" for Gourmet and others for Family Circle and Vogue. In television, she has made appearances on Today, Good Morning America, Rachel Ray and Martha Stewart, and the Food Channel on which she had a regular stint.
In the past, Ms. Kafka was active as a consultant to restaurants, industry and as a product designer. For many years she taught with James Beard as well as around the country on her own. The winner of many awards, including the James Beard Foundation lifetime achievement award, Ms. Kafka has served on the boards of culinary organizations and educational boards. Current projects including writing and developing recipes for several magazines and websites, including Sololady.com, Cookthink.com, and Videojug.com.
Dana Polan is the author of 8 books in film and media and approximately 200 essays, reviews, and review-essays. Two of the books are forthcoming in Duke University Press's new series, Spin-offs, on individual television shows: one on The Sopranos, one on Julia Child's The French Chef. He is a former president of the Society for Cinema Studies, the professional society for film, and a former editor of its publication, Cinema Journal.
He has a Doctorat d'Etat in Letters from the Sorbonne Nouvelle and a Ph.D. in Modern Thought from Stanford. He has been knighted by the French Ministry of Culture for contributions to cross-cultural exchange, and in 2003, he was selected as one of that year's two Academy Foundation Scholars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Andrew F. Smith
Andrew Smith is a writer and lecturer on food and culinary history. He serves as the general editor for the University of Illinois Press Food Series, and is past Chair of The Culinary Trust, the philanthropic partner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
He also teaches Culinary History at the New School in Manhattan.