Colman Andrews and Jimmy Bradley Give "The Taste of America"

Colman Andrews and Jimmy Bradley Give

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Have you ever wondered which foods truly encapsulate what it means to be an American? The Daily Meal’s editorial director, eight-time James Beard Award-winner Colman Andrews, set out to answer this question with his new book, The Taste of America. On Thursday, Nov. 21, The Daily Meal hosted an exclusive event in our test kitchen, inviting guests to join Andrews for the celebration, enjoy some of the foods he defined as definitive of America's flavor, and go home with a copy of the book.

Click Here to See Colman Andrews' "The Taste of America" Book Signing Event Slideshow

Andrews told guests that his inspiration for this, his tenth book, came from reading an essay by Mark Twain about how he disdained European food while on a trip to the Continent and longed for the distinctive comfort of an array of simple American food pleasures.

"I thought a lot about this," Andrews said, "and I thought it would be interesting, as a parallel to Twain more than a century ago, to think about what foods would define the American table today." Andrews included a wide variety in his book, from raw materials to fat-saturated, sugar-enhanced "junk food."

For the event, he then teamed up with a close friend, the popular Manhattan chef–restaurateur Jimmy Bradley (The Red Cat, The Harrison), to bring to life some of the notable foods singled out in his book. "You’ll notice that there are no recipes in the book," Andrews told guests. Instead, it's a collection of short essays on some distinctive American foods. Bradley chimed in to explain just how he and Andrews collaborated to offer guests an American smorgasbord of treats to sample. "After reading the book," said Bradley, "I wanted to take a lot of the best ingredients and prepare them very simply, so I narrowed it down to about 15."

As simple as they may have been, these recipes were nothing short of exquisite. With a menu consisting of items like Finnan-Haddie dip with crostini, baked Blue Point oysters with Parmesan and black pepper, and Maine lobster salad on potato chips, guests were able to really understand the tastes that Andrews describes in his book and experience them as their very own!

Food Smoking With Spices & Herbs

Spices and herbs can add bright, complex flavours to whatever meal you are cooking. And while not all dishes need much zest to make them great-tasting, chefs around the world have been making a living by combining spices and herbs with cooking for ages.

Flavours in spices and herbs usually take time to unlock and dissolve into the food you are cooking. Some recipes call for spices or herbs early on, to allow more flavour to infuse in the food. Others, on the other hand, call for them later as a subtle garnish or for presentation.

We, here at Bradley Smoker, want to point out some select spices and herbs that work especially well with food smoking. They&rsquoll help you create even more flavourful dishes and give you greater confidence when cooking.

Popular Spices

Coming from roots, bark, seeds, berries and fruits, spices are all about flavours. Some popular ones used in food smoking recipes include:

  • Allspice
  • Celery Seed
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Cinnamon Powder
  • Cloves
  • Coriander Seed
  • Cumin Seed
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ginger Powder
  • Mustard Powder
  • Nutmeg Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Peppercorns

If you&rsquove stumbled across any of Bradley&rsquos recipes, probably you noticed that many of them call for dried herbs and spices in brines and marinades.

This is because solvents like water, alcohol and fats help dissolve and unlock the flavours and accentuate their taste. Remember this when experimenting on your own. To get more flavour out of your seasonings, give them a solvent and give them time.

Heat helps accelerate dissolution, which is why chefs often kick things off with a hot pan of oil, adding pressed garlic, onions, spices and dry herbs.

The low, slow food smoking process gives spices and herbs plenty of time for dissolution and absorption, making it the ultimate cooking method.

Popular Herbs

Used for cooking, herbs are flavourings that come from green leaves. Many of them can be grown on a bright window sill in your house. Thyme, oregano, chives, rosemary, black pearl peppers, sage, parsley and basil do particularly well and are very popular.

One pot of any given herb grown throughout the year will provide enough seasoning for your whole family. Here are some other popular herbs for food smoking:

  • Basil
  • Bay Leaf
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thai Basil
  • Thyme
  • Tarragon

Fresh vs Dry Herbs

Pay close attention to what your recipe specifically calls for. Swapping fresh for dried herbs can have a big impact on the recipe. For example, powdered bay leaf packs a lot more flavour than crushed or whole bay leaf.

In general, three parts fresh herbs is about equal to one part dried. So, if a recipe calls for fresh herbs and all you have is dried, then you can just change tablespoons to teaspoons and voila. It&rsquos not an exact science, but it usually works.

Be Creative to Substitute a Spice or an Herb

Every once in a while, a recipe calls for an herb or spice that you don&rsquot have. In that case, you can often substitute one herb or spice for another. This will more than likely result in a significant change in taste of the dish. So, it&rsquos usually best to just make a quick run to the grocery store or, better yet, knock on a neighbor&rsquos door!

Hopefully that will get the creative juices flowing, besides prompting you to occasionally change up what spices and herbs you&rsquore using on your next food smoking dish! And as always, leave a comment!

Bradley Smoker is a maker of high quality food smoking products, Bisquettes and food smoking recipes.

Spices and herbs can add bright, complex flavours to whatever meal you are cooking. And while not all dishes need much zest to make them great-tasting, chefs around the world have been making a living by combining spices and herbs with cooking for ages.

Flavours in spices and herbs usually take time to unlock and dissolve into the food you are cooking. Some recipes call for spices or herbs early on, to allow more flavour to infuse in the food. Others, on the other hand, call for them later as a subtle garnish or for presentation.

We, here at Bradley Smoker, want to point out some select spices and herbs that work especially well with food smoking. They&rsquoll help you create even more flavourful dishes and give you greater confidence when cooking.

Popular Spices

Coming from roots, bark, seeds, berries and fruits, spices are all about flavours. Some popular ones used in food smoking recipes include:

Allspice, Celery Seed, Cinnamon Powder, Cinnamon Sticks, Cinnamon Powder, Cloves, Coriander Seed, Cumin Seed, Garlic Powder, Ginger Powder, Mustard Powder, Nutmeg Powder, Onion Powder and Paprika Peppercorns.

If you&rsquove stumbled across any of Bradley&rsquos recipes, probably you noticed that many of them call for dried herbs and spices in brines and marinades.

This is because solvents like water, alcohol and fats help dissolve and unlock the flavours, while accentuating their taste. Remember this when experimenting on your own. To get more flavour out of your seasonings, give them a solvent and give them time.

Heat helps accelerate dissolution, which is why chefs often kick things off with a hot pan of oil, adding pressed garlic, onions, spices and dry herbs.

The low, slow food smoking process gives spices and herbs plenty of time for dissolution and absorption, making it the ultimate cooking method.

Popular Herbs

Used for cooking, herbs are flavourings that come from green leaves. Many of them can be grown on a bright window sill in your house. Thyme, oregano, chives, rosemary, black pearl peppers, sage, parsley and basil do particularly well and are very popular.

One pot of any given herb grown throughout the year will provide enough seasoning for your whole family. Here are some other popular herbs for food smoking:

Basil, Bay Leaf, Chives, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thai Basil, Thyme and Tarragon.

Fresh vs Dry Herbs

Pay close attention to what your recipe specifically calls for. Swapping fresh for dried herbs can have a big impact on the recipe. For example, powdered bay leaf packs a lot more flavour than crushed or whole bay leaf.

In general, three parts fresh herbs is about equal to one part dried. So, if a recipe calls for fresh herbs and all you have is dried, then you can just change tablespoons to teaspoons and voila. It&rsquos not an exact science, but it usually works.

Be Creative to Substitute a Spice or an Herb

Every once in a while, a recipe calls for an herb or spice that you don&rsquot have. In that case, you can often substitute one herb or spice for another. This will more than likely result in a significant change in taste of the dish. So, it&rsquos usually best to just make a quick run to the grocery store or, better yet, knock on a neighbor&rsquos door!

Hopefully that will get the creative juices flowing, besides prompting you to occasionally change up what spices and herbs you&rsquore using on your next food smoking dish! And as always, leave a comment!

Bradley Smoker is a maker of high quality food smoking products, Bisquettes, and food smoking recipes.

Special Report: Ruth Reichl in Focus

Ruth Reichl, the pioneering editor in chief of Condé Nast’s gastronomic institution Gourmet and formerly the celebrated restaurant critic for The New York Times, is musing about who should play her in the movie adaptation of her scrumptiously engaging memoir, Garlic and Sapphires, which Fox and Avenue Pictures are developing and on which Reichl is an executive producer.

Much of the book, the third in her series of best-selling confessionals about food, career, family, travel and love, has Reichl devising various disguises—hats, wigs, gaudy jewelry—to keep from being recognized as she goes about her culinary adventures. (In Reichl’s days as a critic, restaurants were known to display her photo in their kitchens, with some offering employees generous rewards for spotting her in their milieu.) One of the book’s most entertaining episodes involves two starkly different visits Reichl made to New York’s sumptuous, legendary Le Cirque: one as the invented “Molly Hollis,” retired school teacher from Birmingham, Mich., relegated by the maitre d’ to the rear of the smoking section the other as Ruth Reichl, influential newspaper critic, who scores the best seat in the house (ahead of the King of Spain, stuck waiting at the bar) and gets showered with flattery and amuse-bouche. It is a scene made for the big screen.

So lately, Reichl is busy swapping e-mails with writer Jeremy Leven, who penned 2004’s The Notebook and is now working on Garlic and Sapphires. That is, when she’s not cranking out the country’s oldest, most-esteemed food magazine or laboring over one the many side projects she and her colleagues at 4 Times Square have going𠅏rom the stacks of Gourmet-branded books, including the best-selling Gourmet Cookbook, to the PBS series Diary of a Foodie, as well as radio shows, podcasts, events, Gourmet.com and Epicurious.com, an encyclopedic assemblage of recipes from Gourmet and sister pub Bon Appétit.

Scriptwriter Leven “sends me notes asking, ‘What would [the character] do here?'” Reichl relates, smiling ear-to-ear, just like Julia Roberts would. “It’s been an incredibly fun process. It’s really exciting.”

These are, indeed, exciting times for the visionary, influential Reichl, who Adweek Magazines has selected as Editor of the Year in recognition of her award-winning transformation of the 66-year-old Gourmet, reliably serving up a fresh, informed take on the hot and ever-changing topic of food and inspiring rabid devotion among readers, advertisers and publishing peers.

Eight years since moving over to Gourmet from the Times, where her humorous, human and aggressively honest columns made her perhaps the country’s best-known and most respected food writer, Reichl continues to make the magazine a must-read for the serious gastronome. Whether exposing restaurants’ “local, seasonal” scam, ranking America’s top restaurants, divulging the best way to slice an onion or inviting important authors like Jane Smiley and Calvin Trillin to spin their personal, heartwarming tales of food and family, Gourmet lays out an extravagant feast of all things epicurean month after month. Like luxuriating in a rich parade of courses at a four-star restaurant, thumbing through the pages of Gourmet delivers one savory journalistic and visual treat after another. (Gourmet was also singled out by Adweek Magazines this year for Design. See story beginning on page SR8.)

“We’re constantly saying, ‘What’s going on in the world? What should we be covering? How do you keep it exciting?'” an energetic, charming Reichl says from her inviting, art-packed perch overlooking Times Square on a recent, hectic afternoon. “They’re very much living, breathing creatures, magazines. What was good last year isn’t going to be good next year.”

“I think that at first, Condé Nast thought they were just getting someone with star power when they hired Ruth—I’m not sure they realized what a good editor she is,” says Laurie Ochoa, editor in chief of LA Weekly, who worked with Reichl on the food section at The Los Angeles Times and, later, at Gourmet, where she was executive editor from 1999 to 2001.

Ochoa remembers Reichl’s first year at Gourmet as exceptionally challenging, being that the magazine was charged with the tricky task of luring a new generation of readers without alienating longtime devotees. One of the first decisions Reichl and her team made, Ochoa recalls, was to keep the magazine’s fanciful logo. “It wasn’t dated—it was a classic,” Ochoa says.

More radically, Reichl would institute cover lines (“A Week’s Worth of Wonderful Soups,” “Secrets of Sichuan Chefs”) and put people on the front of the formerly stark magazine, as well as inside its pages. “When they showed me the magazine, not only were there no people in the pictures, I didn’t feel like anybody was going to actually sit down at that table either,” Reichl remembers. “It’s not just about the food. You’re supposed to know who’s there, what’s happening at this dinner, what they’re talking about, their relationships.”

The editor also infused a welcome sense of humor into the stodgy glossy, whose idea of a sexy cover used to be a forlorn box of chocolates. Before he became the subject of NBC reality series The Restaurant and a household name, Reichl slapped Rocco DiSpirito on one of her early covers, the slightly bemused-looking chef hoisting a giant fish over his shoulder. The cover of a special London issue had four chefs mimicking the iconic shot from The Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

“The magazine always had this history and heritage and incredible credibility,” says Giulio Capua, vp/publisher of Gourmet from 2002 until last month, when Condé Nast moved him to shelter title Architectural Digest and installed AD vp/publisher Amy Churgin at Gourmet. “But when Ruth took over, I think it was stale, it was tired and it wasn’t an innovator.”

Under Reichl, Gourmet is on a roll, snagging multiple journalism awards, including two National Magazine Awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors (for General Excellence in 2004 and for Photography the following year), as well as a dozen James Beard Awards. And Reichl’s standout editorial has helped bring business-side rewards. With the magazine business suffering a circ slump, Gourmet, which sells 988,000 total paid copies per month, is flying off newsstands, single-copy sales spiking 11 percent in the last six months of 2006 compared to the previous year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. (Overall sales, including subscriptions, which account for most of Gourmet’s reach, was flat.)

Likewise, in a soft advertising market, Gourmet continues to score business, its ad pages last year swelling by a healthy 7.3 percent to 1,352.3, reports Publishers Information Bureau. Gourmet boasts dozens of accounts exclusive to the epicurean category, including Cartier, Ralph Lauren Home and TIAA-CREF. Its fastest-growing categories last year were beauty, fashion and jewelry/watches. Travel, Gourmet’s largest category, was also up slightly.

Advertisers line up to praise Gourmet’s transformation under Reichl. “Ruth takes the magazine to faraway places and makes those experiences attainable in your own home,” says Jill Harnick, vp/marketing at TIAA-CREF, which underwrites Diary of a Foodie (produced by Boston’s WGBH-TV, which brought Julia Child into America’s homes). “Her vision allows the reader to feel, taste and experience exotic locales in her own appealing, approachable way. The magazine is delicious.”

Adds David Strome, vp/managing director of agency KSL Media, New York, whose clients include Gourmet advertiser Grey Goose vodka, “Ruth has made the magazine incredibly relevant to both the lifelong gourmand as well as a new breed of younger consumers who are beginning to appreciate this aspect of their lives.” Strome calls Reichl an “icon.”

Reichl may be going Hollywood, collecting industry accolades and amassing admirers along Madison Avenue, but her early days at Gourmet were anything but sweet. “We got hundreds and hundreds of letters in the first six months saying, ‘You have destroyed the finest magazine,'” the editor recalls. “I hand-wrote letters back to them . . . and said, ‘I hear you, but give us a chance. Change is difficult. Please read it for three more months, then write me back.'” Eventually, the hate mail stopped, and Reichl knew her formula was catching on.

Reichl “is very real. She has this amazing spirit and really trusts her gut, and therefore people trust her,” says Donna Warner, editor in chief of Hachette Filipacchi Media’s Metropolitan Home and a longtime friend and admirer of Reichl, who once contributed food pieces to the shelter title. “People relate to her because she has an honesty and a soulfulness not widely available in a commercial sense.”

Colman Andrews, a co-founder and former editor in chief of World Publications’ rival food magazine Saveur and now a contributor to Gourmet, calls his old friend and colleague Reichl “a very accessible person. You never have the feeling she’s lording it over you because she knows more than you do. She has a real presence that people respond to. She’s not threatening but commands respect, which is a neat trick.”

Andrews should know a thing or two about Reichl’s ability to draw people in. In her earlier memoir, Comfort Me With Apples, Reichl writes candidly of her romance with Andrews many years ago when they worked together in California, this during her marriage to her first husband. (Reichl is now married to TV news producer Michael Singer, with whom she has a teenage son.) For three decades, Reichl and Andrews’ personal and professional lives have been intertwined, with Reichl editing Andrews or Andrews editing Reichl at various points. (Andrews also is now married, with teenage children.) Even though the passion between them is presumed long dead and buried, it’s little surprise that after Reichl recruited Andrews to work for Gourmet last year, Condé Nasties were abuzz. As for being exposed in Reichl’s reminiscences, Andrews deadpans, “It was so long ago, I don’t remember any of it. I’m taking her word for it.” (For her part, Reichl has said, with a wave of the hand, “Privacy is overrated.”)

But back to business: It is not only Reichl’s omniscience about food and her uncanny knack for appearing on the scene just as culinary trends take hold� it California cuisine in the 󈨊s or the coming of age of New York restaurants in the 󈨞s (the editor has been called the Zelig of the food world)𠅋ut the accessibility Andrews speaks of that is perhaps the key ingredient in Reichl’s decades-long, intimate connection with her public. Long before everywoman Rachael Ray blabbed her way into America’s heart, the famously egalitarian Reichl set out to take the mystery and fear out of the art of cooking, endearing her to those who loved food but were terrified of experimenting, learning and, above all, enjoying the process of creating yummy meals.

“There are a few things that are our mission [at Gourmet]—the first being that cooking is not difficult. It is a completely natural activity,” Reichl insists. “What is wrong is this emphasis on perfection. Everybody’s going to cook a bad meal sometimes. Big deal. You’ll cook another one tomorrow. The notion that, somehow, the media have led people to believe that ordinary people should cook like chefs is ridiculous.”

Make no mistake: Reichl may be known for stripping food and dining of their pretensions, but Gourmet, being an upscale-lifestyle magazine chock-full of luxury advertisers the likes of Rolex, Chanel and Mercedes-Benz, can still be all about fancy, complicated and exotic cuisine. It is called Gourmet, and recent recipes include an ambitious vegetable-stuffed loin of veal with sweetbreads (prep and cooking time: 19 hours). One of the magazine’s signature franchises, its Restaurant Issue, ranks the country’s top 50 restaurants, a list that is dominated by purveyors of the some of the priciest grub in New York (Per Se, Le Bernardin, Babbo). That said, simple, homey pleasures like angel hair pasta with fresh tomato sauce and blueberry-lime ice pops are just as comfortable in Gourmet’s pages, and are, in fact, the norm. The monthly “Ten-Minute Mains” offers simple but delectable supper ideas like mussels with saffron cream and beef and avocado fajitas. Another feature, the back-of-the-book “The Last Touch”—which Reichl killed early on, only to bring it back after readers protested—presents recipes for unaffected favorites like chocolate brownies and the French staple croques-monsieur.

Alice Waters of Berkeley’s famed Chez Panisse, one of the mothers of California cuisine who has known Reichl since she was a West Coast food writer and, earlier, a fellow chef and restaurateur, singles out the editor’s integrity. “She’s speaking from a very honest place. That’s very compelling in this world where everybody’s trying to sell you something, and something that’s not good for you,” Waters says. “She understands that food is about nourishment and it’s precious she feels a great responsibility to educate people with the right kind of information.”

Like many others, Waters is impressed that Reichl has attracted an extraordinary array of A-list contributors to Gourmet, many of them not known for writing about food. Last August, Gourmet produced its first-ever Literary Supplement, sponsored by Philips Electronics, featuring writers and visual artists as diverse as Maira Kalman, Pat Conroy and Junot Diaz. Reichl maintains that food is “the universal medium, and everybody has great food stories.”

Calvin Trillin, author of the current New York Times best- seller About Alice, says he had pretty much stopped writing about food until his longtime friend and sometime lunching companion Reichl lured him back a few years ago. “In the old days, I assumed that Gourmet was not the sort of magazine that would have somebody like me writing for it,” says Trillin. “In general, [epicurean magazines] for a long time specialized in what I like to call the inspector-general school of food writing: Someone who considers himself a great expert goes into a place and tells you the background and brings his knowledge, sort of like a lecture. But Ruth is quite open to stories that, essentially, are about the place, or sharing experiences, not just a minute analysis of the spices that might have been in the souffle.”

It is that deeper appreciation of food and everyone’s connection to it that puts Reichl in a class of her own and keeps Gourmet on the front burner. “I got to Gourmet at a point where America was starting to say, ‘Oh, food,'” Reichl recollects. “Food came into the culture and it became not something that just a few foodies cared about, and not just something that people who were cooks cared about, but something that is really on the national agenda. People are understanding that food is a prism for everything.” Tony Case is a contributing writer to Mediaweek.

The Chef at 15

One weekend in February, in the kitschy, barnlike house he shares with his mother and grandmother in the San Fernando Valley, Flynn McGarry was preparing an eight-course tasting menu for 15 guests. The McGarrys’ living room, which is dominated by a gigantic brick fireplace, had been cleared to make room for four tables draped with white tablecloths that his mom, Meg, steamed and pressed before moving on to the silver. “We’re having a ‘Downton Abbey’ moment here,” she said.

McGarry, who turned 15 in November, has been hosting his supper club — which he calls Eureka, after the street where he used to live — since he was 11½. Cooking what he calls “progressive American cuisine” is a time-consuming endeavor, and the $160-a-head tasting menus can take somewhere on the order of eight days to prepare. By noon on Saturday, McGarry had finished making the ember-roasted carrot gelée to go with the smoked egg yolk that would be served alongside compressed mango, pickled mustard seeds and coffee-pickled carrots. The beets for the beet Wellington, a dish inspired by a photo of rare beef Wellington that he saw on Instagram, sat in the smoker they had already been roasted over wood chips and steamed. The beets would eventually be swathed in a mushroom duxelle, dotted with beet greens, enveloped in puff pastry and accompanied on the plate by a smear of creamed sorrel, a beet bordelaise sauce made with reduced ember-roasted beet juice and a single smoked, glazed date.

On Sunday, Huy Nguyen, the 36-year-old executive sous chef at Faith & Flower, a new restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and Josh Graves, its 27-year-old pastry chef, arrived to help out in the kitchen. Nguyen made the kale purée for the abalone, or sea snail, course, while Graves made rolls and sliced mangoes. At one point, McGarry entered the kitchen with a tray of flowers and herbs from his yard, where he grows the things he can’t find anywhere else or — in the case of “supertiny lettuce,” say — to the exact size he wants.

“Are those daisies edible?” Meg asked.

“Yeah, they’re not daisies,” McGarry replied. “They’re St. John’s wort.”

“You have to be careful with those,” she said. “They’re medicinal. They’re for depression. I wouldn’t put it on people’s food.”

“They get one petal,” he insisted.

“They won’t be depressed,” Graves joked.

“Is that really what it is?” Meg asked. “Maybe that’s why we’re so happy here.”

Around 7 o’clock, the guests — among them were a couple of actors (Dan Byrd of “Cougar Town,” Michaela Watkins of “Trophy Wife”), a producer, an editor, a lawyer, McGarry’s manager and several restaurant people — milled around the house and chatted on the porch before sitting down to eat. McGarry emerged from the kitchen with each course, to both present it and finish it at the table. A snack of puffed trout skin was followed by blanched asparagus tips, wrapped in grilled asparagus gelée and garnished with the controversial petal. Served on a rustic slab of gray slate, they resembled an exotic species of snail. Diners praised the clean flavors and the way each ingredient was “elevated” rather than obscured. (“People use butter as a crutch,” one griped, by way of praising McGarry’s palate.) They also teased the chef for not yet being old enough to drive. “When I’m little, I want to be Flynn,” said Max Shapiro, a real estate broker and an amateur chef who runs B.R.K., a private supper club (“a hobby turned psychotic,” Shapiro said of his elaborate dinner parties) in West Hollywood. He was sitting beside his friend and supper-club partner Max Coane, a sommelier. Both are regulars at Eureka. “Want to smell some wine?” Coane asked McGarry.

McGarry is small, very slender and lightly freckled, with thick auburn hair that swoops to the side in a style that one diner described as “a perfectly tossed salad.” He comes across as preternaturally calm and poised, though not entirely un-self-conscious. This may have something to do with the degree of attention trained on him at all times. Dinner, for instance, was filmed by a documentary filmmaker McGarry’s father, Will, a professional photographer, took pictures throughout. And while McGarry’s mother has retired her YouTube channel, Dining With Flynn, and his sister no longer posts on her blog, The Sister of a Culinary Prodigy, diners snapped pictures of their food on their iPhones as each course arrived and posted them to Instagram. Later, Tyler Florence, the Food Network star, left an encouraging comment about the beef course. “Tight brother,” he wrote.


McGarry’s story reflects many of our prevailing pop-culture obsessions — precocious kids, superparenting, esoteric food, homemade celebrity — and he has already appeared on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” the “Today” show and NBC’s “Nightly News.” He has consulted on a sitcom about a teen chef, inspired by his life, that was in development for a while at NBC. He’s working on a book about his experiences and his approach to food. After turning down countless reality projects, he’s in the process of developing an unscripted travel series with RipCord, a production company founded by the actor Mike White, that will soon be pitched to networks. As a way to cull through all the inquiries, Meg, whose mother was once an executive at NBC, initially instituted an NBC-only press policy. But as interest grew, the family handed over the task to professionals. McGarry now employs a manager and a lawyer, and requests go through his agent at U.T.A.

Yet the formidable machine that has been assembled to catapult McGarry to the culinary equivalent of Bieberish heights is, in some ways, at odds with his real ambition. The danger of child stardom is that it can undermine adult credibility. McGarry prefers not to think of himself as a kid chef, but rather as a kid who happens to have aspired to be a Michelin-starred chef since he was 12. To that end, McGarry, who is home-schooled through an online program, cooks an average of 160 hours a month. He has apprenticed at some of the best restaurants in the country — at Grant Achatz’s restaurants Next and Alinea in Chicago, and at Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York, where he has staged, or interned, five times. He was invited to help prep a dinner at the Modernist Food Lab in Seattle, under the chef Maxime Bilet, and asked back a few months later to help put together a charity dinner with guest chefs, including the departing White House pastry chef, Bill Yosses, who helped him land a gig cooking on the White House lawn during the Easter Egg Roll. McGarry posed for a picture with the Obamas.

Last September, after he became a regular at the Eureka dinners, Shapiro took McGarry to Alma, in downtown Los Angeles, which was named Best New Restaurant in America in 2013 by Bon Appétit magazine. Ari Taymor, Alma’s 28-year-old owner and chef, asked McGarry if he’d like to help out the next day at a private event, a collaboration dinner for 150 people at a farm near Bakersfield. McGarry said yes, and they spent five hours cooking two whole goats over an open fire in pitch dark 40-degree weather. “It was pretty gnarly,” Taymor recalls. “I got smoke-inhalation poisoning, and he looked like he came out of a chimney.”

But Taymor was impressed by the young chef. “He’s a prodigy,” he says. “He’s only been cooking for two or three years. I’ve had people working for me for eight or 10 years — it’s just the way he handles, the way he moves. It’s kind of an innate thing for him.” McGarry, who is technically in the 10th grade, now works at Alma a couple of days a week. Meg wants him to finish school as quickly as he can so he can work full time at a restaurant. “He’s a professional,” she told me. “I think he can learn more being out in the world.”

The celebrity chef is a relatively new cultural species. In the early ’60s, chefs like Paul Bocuse became famous “for cooking in their restaurants,” says Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal, a website, and a founder of Saveur magazine. “They didn’t have TV shows, they weren’t seen out socially at parties, they didn’t, for the most part, have product lines.” Wolfgang Puck glamorized the profession in the ’80s, becoming a celebrity who catered to celebrities and wasn’t shy about lending his name to frozen pizzas, performance blenders and 1,000-watt crepe makers. (“They could make jokes about him on ‘The Tonight Show,’ and all of America would know perfectly well what they were talking about,” Andrews says.) But it wasn’t until the Food Network debuted, in 1993, that cooking truly became its own genre of entertainment. “Television shows could not be just about instructional cooking,” says Bob Tuschman, a senior vice president, who helped get the network running. They needed to be “just fun to watch, where you would learn a lot sort of as a byproduct of being entertained.”

The Food Network exposed millions of Americans to an aspect of culture, gastronomy, they would not have normally encountered. And according to Allen Salkin, the author of a history of the network, “From Scratch,” this included a lot of children, too. As food personalities became celebrities, children who once dreamed of being rock stars or actresses now dreamed of being chefs. As a 3-year-old, McGarry dressed up as Emeril for Halloween. At 10, after his parents split up, he grew frustrated with all the takeout that his mother was ordering and decided to do something about it. “For two years, I practiced the basics by myself,” he says. “Knife cuts, sauces — using the Internet and cookbooks and stuff like that.”

The Internet soon became a conduit to the world of haute cuisine — of cooking as self-expression and eating as experience — and introduced him to the key players. After Meg, a freelance filmmaker, signed him up for a kids’ cooking class, the teacher asked the students to buy a cookbook of their choice. McGarry chose Thomas Keller’s “French Laundry Cookbook” and subsequently worked his way through its recipes. “I had no clue what Michelin was,” McGarry says. “I didn’t know all of the rankings and all the food. And then once I got on Google, I was like, ‘Oh.’ That kind of opened my eyes to it.” On the Internet, he learned about molecular gastronomy, sous vide and so-called progressive cooking. “It’s, like, you go on YouTube, and you watch a Thomas Keller video, and then there’s this Grant Achatz video.” McGarry picked up proper knife techniques by watching online demonstrations then he began experimenting with flavors and preparations. “When I was like 10, I wanted to be in a Food Network show, and then when I saw [those videos], I just fully did like a 180.”

His parents encouraged his desire to become a serious chef. When the counters in the kitchen proved too high, they made him a prep kitchen in the dining room that was modeled after Keller’s at French Laundry. When McGarry decided he wanted a private space to create menu ideas, his dad constructed a kitchen in his bedroom to resemble Alinea’s in Chicago. They redid the electricity, built the tables and removed the closet doors to convert it to a pantry McGarry would get an induction burner for a birthday, a vacuum sealer for Christmas. When McGarry eventually visited the restaurant, he remarked, “This is what I put in my bedroom!”

The turning point, however, occurred after his 11th birthday. McGarry contracted whooping cough, and he was forced to stay home for almost three months, much of which he and his mother spent watching “Iron Chef Japan.” When he recovered, they gave a dinner party for Meg’s friends from the “Le Bernardin Cookbook.” “It was funny,” Meg recalls. “It was like a school play. Everybody applauded at the end, and he realized, ‘Oh, this is a really cool thing that I want to do.’ ” McGarry, who had long been bullied at school, returned to sixth grade, but during the next year, he asked his mother if he could be home-schooled in order to focus on cooking. “I was actually relieved,” says Meg, who at that point had spoken to several principals about the bullying. “I don’t want him to be unhappy. And I want him to do what he likes to do.”

McGarry began to focus on the supper club, and when a Talk of the Town item on Eureka appeared in The New Yorker, in early 2012, the dinners became a popular ticket on the Los Angeles food scene. Soon after, McGarry and Meg met Kris Morningstar, the chef at Ray’s & Stark Bar, the Renzo Piano-designed restaurant at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, at a food event called Taste of Beverly Hills. (They struck up a conversation after Morningstar complimented Meg’s Hall and Oates T-shirt.) The chef invited McGarry to see what it was like to work in a real kitchen, with professional cooks, and before long he was helping out a couple of days a week. The line cook taught McGarry how to work the meat station. One sous chef taught him how to break down fish another taught him how to butcher. He met Josh Graves, who taught him how to make bread and ice cream. “Even my mom,” McGarry recalled, “was like: ‘Are you sure you wanna do this? You’re a 12-year-old working a 15-hour day.’ ” But he was attracted to the pressure and the pace of a professional kitchen. “Once I realized that I could do it, then I was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’ ”

McGarry next asked Bernhard Mairinger, the chef-owner of the Austrian restaurant BierBeisl, if he could borrow his kitchen to host a dinner. The pop-up quickly became a monthly event, and McGarry was invited to do a dinner for 150 people at Playa, the critically renowned restaurant, which has since closed. The revenue financed a trip to Chicago, where he apprenticed at Next, and then at Alinea.

McGarry told me that despite his professional demands, he tries to keep up with his old friends from middle school. “I have the kid side and the cooking side,” he said. “When I hang out with people my own age, I sort of shut the cooking side off, which I also think is good for not burning out.” But he concedes that he now has more in common with his fellow chefs — the often-tattooed hipsters, 10 years his senior — whom he considers his peers. He uses Uber, the ride-sharing app, to meet them for dinners at night. (In May, he’ll be getting his learner’s permit.) “I get along better with them than I do with lots of people my own age,” he says. “You adopt the traits of people around you, and I spend most of my time around 25-year-olds. I start to adopt their traits and become more of an adult. I go out to dinner with them. I work with them so much — they’re friends.”

When I asked Meg if she worried that McGarry was pushing himself too hard, she said: “This all came from him.” I asked if she worried about the lifestyle he would be exposed to, hanging out at night with his new older friends. “In every kitchen he’s been in, there’s a real protectiveness. A lot of people are mid-to-late 20s or 30s — so they’ve been through crazy times and come out the other side,” she said. They seemed safer, perhaps, than teenagers. “It’s a better group for him to be around.”

In a corner of the McGarrys’ “Bonanza”-style kitchen, there’s a rack containing roughly $6,000 worth of highly specialized kitchen equipment, including a chamber vacuum sealer, induction burners, a binchotan grill and an immersion circulator that McGarry bought after he sold one of his guitars when he was 10. “To cook like this, it takes expensive tools,” McGarry says. “And the ingredients are expensive. That’s why when people ask how you can charge people $160, it’s like, ‘I don’t think you understand how expensive the ingredients are.’ ”

When shopping for his dinners, McGarry and his mother wake up at 5 a.m. to go to the fish market downtown or to the butcher. When McGarry needs something from Whole Foods, a few miles away, he hops on his bike. The big farmers’ markets in Hollywood and Santa Monica are the ones worth going to, but on a recent Thursday the only option was a tiny one downtown. McGarry goes to farmers’ markets all the time just to see what they have, what’s in season, to taste around and see what’s good. He talks to farmers and creates a list of all of the produce he can use. His menus are primarily produce-driven, usually eight courses (two of which are desserts, which he leaves to Graves). He narrows each of them down to a maximum of nine ingredients.

Some chefs have an emotional approach to food McGarry’s is decidedly conceptual. He thinks in terms of juxtapositions. At the Eureka dinner in February, he served abalone with kale, almond and ember-roasted chicken broth, because “abalone is really rich, and the kale, if you grill in a lot of different layers to it, is really nutty,” he says. “So I figured if you purée almonds into it, it will give it a good texture and add some depth of flavor.” After he has decided on a combination, he begins to calculate balance. “You need acid, sweet, salt, crunchiness, and then if you have something soft, you need something crunchy. If you have something salty, you need something sour — so maybe I pickle the kale. You start to add techniques to it to make things taste certain ways.”

Once he comes up with the concept for a new dish, McGarry draws a picture of what it might look like on a plate. His experiments, like one particular vegetable dish, are often intentionally playful and witty. “The idea was that cardoons — a type of artichoke — and celery look alike,” he explained. “And rhubarb, which is also in season, looks like that, too. So maybe all three will go together. I have no clue. I haven’t tested it yet. It’s like a visual idea.” He ended up poaching the cardoons in goat’s milk and pairing them with pickled rhubarb, grilled celery and a mushroom consommé. “I was always creative kid,” McGarry said. “I played music, I painted a lot. I was always really creative. My whole family is creative. I got into the creative side of cooking — seeing how I could take a carrot and elevate it to this incredible level that you’d never imagine eating a carrot.”

Despite the attention that’s always paid to McGarry’s age, cooking is a profession, with its hours and pressure and physical demands, that skews young. Apprentice chefs in Europe begin working in kitchens around 15 or 16, while also attending multiyear culinary schools where they’re not only trained in cooking but also in management, accounting, bookkeeping, service and all other aspects of running a restaurant. René Redzepi, whose restaurant, Noma, in Copenhagen, was voted the best in the world three years in a row by Restaurant Magazine, started when he was 13. Redzepi opened Noma at 26. “I think the age gets blown out of proportion,” Taymor says. “I don’t see him by his age. It doesn’t really exist to me.”

But McGarry’s age has certainly helped with opportunities. As Andrews points out, most teenage apprentices in Europe would be deep in the kitchen trenches, tournéing hundreds of potatoes a day, not collaborating with famous chefs in pop-ups or interning in Michelin-starred restaurants. “At that age he would be in a kitchen,” Andrews says, “but he wouldn’t be a celebrity chef. He’d be peeling vegetables or cleaning fish.”

McGarry may be in something of a rush, but even the chefs he has worked with have encouraged him to be patient. “Considering his age, he has such a creative mind, and it’s only going to continue to develop as he gets older,” Daniel Humm, the executive chef at Eleven Madison Park, told me. “I think it’s important that he keeps his focus, that he keep a strong desire to learn more and to not rush his development as a cook. This industry is very difficult, very demanding, and there are no guarantees at all.”

Humm describes his own training as a decade-long period spent in the background of kitchens, working every station, performing every task. He credits this experience with allowing him to learn the basics, but also preparing him to run his own three-star kitchen. “These days,” he says, “we turn the spotlight onto any young talent, whether it’s an athlete, a musician or a cook, and it could hurt that person’s development. For Flynn, I just want to make sure he takes the time to grow, because he’s already in such a great position to have a bright future if he can keep his focus. It’s more important for him to have a big name in 15 years, not necessarily right now.”

Alma is located in an unassuming space around the downtown Los Angeles arts district, on a stretch of blocks that is gentrifying at what seems like warp speed. It serves inventive, seasonal tasting menus focused mainly on produce. McGarry works in an open kitchen, alongside seven other cooks nearly twice his age. One afternoon in March, just before 3 o’clock, he was breaking down an enormous sturgeon into smaller pieces. In less than half an hour, the staff would clean down the kitchen in preparation for dinner service, but behind the counter, everyone worked quickly and efficiently, effortlessly avoiding collisions as they darted around in the small space. McGarry was focused and efficient, fast but also methodical and calm. At one point, Taymor called him over to check out a couple making out outside the plate-glass window, but McGarry remained at his post. Taymor told me that people often ask him, and his servers, what that kid is doing in the kitchen.

McGarry has yet to make much money for his cooking, but that could change soon. Once he turns 16, he can take his California High School Equivalency Exam and, with his parents’ consent, work full time at a restaurant like Alma. And while McGarry may be singularly focused on his cooking — “he doesn’t want to be the kid chef,” Meg says — he also seems to recognize the value of his unusual story in achieving his ultimate goal. He is hoping to expedite his professional development by traveling across the globe to work in some of the world’s top kitchens. And he is hoping to make this possible by starring in a reality show in which he is paid to travel across the globe to work in some of the world’s top kitchens. “I get to learn from these chefs and experience all of these different places, but I don’t have to pay a lot of money for it,” McGarry said. David Bernad, who is developing the show, said: “Flynn is very confident kid, but he also knows that he doesn’t know everything and has a lot to learn. So the idea of the show is that it’s his journey to being the youngest Michelin starred chef in the world.”

McGarry’s real precociousness, in fact, may be his ability to confront his own ambition. Twice during our conversations, he spoke about how he tries to avoid reflecting too much on all the things that are happening, to not pay attention to the media or let it freak him out. At the same time, he’s a willing participant in it he told me he was convinced that self-promotion — whether it’s a show or a magazine article — was an integral part of being a creative person nowadays. “You can’t really do anything without selling out, to an extent,” he says. “And I don’t consider this selling out, because I want to do it. I was like: ‘I want to do a travel show. I want to meet these chefs. I want to talk to them, and I wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.’ I could get into these kitchens, maybe, and work there, but I’d have to find a place to live, and all the plane tickets and stuff. And also, I’m 15, so my mom has to come with me, too.”

McGarry’s eventual plan is to move to New York at 17, work at Eleven Madison Park or somewhere like it for a year, maybe a year and a half, and then start work on his restaurant by 19. The remainder of his teenage years seems to him a respectable stretch of time in which to learn and develop. Then again, “now that I think about it,” he says, “time moves very quickly for me, so it’s not that far away. I don’t think I can wait too long, because the real estate [in New York] keeps going up and up and up. You can’t wait forever to do it, because if you wait forever, your opportunity might just be gone.”

He paused for a moment. “I know people are always like, ‘You shouldn’t mark what you want by someone else’s [standards]’ — like three Michelin stars or four New York Times stars — but it’s kind of like a goal to look up to. This is what I want. I want to have one of the best restaurants in the world, or whatever, which is kind of a very high goal to have, but I like pressure. So to say I want the best restaurant in the world would put enough pressure on me to try as hard as possible to have the best restaurant in the world.”

  • Colman's to launch a new milder version of its traditional English mustard
  • Company said heat level would be 'mellowed' to attract younger customers
  • Colman's Mild is to go on sale next month priced at £1.59 for a 170g jar

Published: 17:18 BST, 5 July 2015 | Updated: 08:00 BST, 6 July 2015

New product: Colman's is to launch a milder version of its mustard for customers who find its current recipe too hot to handle

Colman's is to launch a milder version of its mustard for customers who find its current recipe too hot to handle.

It will still have a traditional English mustard flavour but the heat level will be 'mellowed' to one similar to its American-style hot dog taste.

The company, founded in 1814 by Norfolk businessman Jeremiah Colman, previously launched a milder version in 1959 but that has not been available for many years.

Hannah Webb, of owners Unilever, told Stephen Hayward of the Sunday People that the new recipe would be suitable for a wider range of dishes.

Its aim, she said, is to extend the brand's reach to families and younger people who prefer a milder taste.

Colman's said its new mild mustard, which goes on sale next month at £1.59 for a 170g jar, is not a relaunch of its previous attempt because it uses a different formula.

Last year the firm celebrated its 200th anniversary of its original recipe. The popular product was founded by former flour miller Sir Jeremiah Colman and sold as a powder for people to mix into a paste.

Popularity for the spicey condiment went from strength to strength and in the 1880s they began to offer different types of containers for customers to buy it in.

These ranged from tins costing just one penny to collectible, pictorial packages with the bright yellow label.

Taste of the South: Chess Pie

You can't get more basic than chess pie. Remarkable in its simplicity, timeless in appeal, chess pie is the ultimate Southern pantry pie.

Chess Pie Recipes:

History of Chess Pie
No one has ever been able to determine how chess pie came about its name, but the colorful explanations make for great table conversation.

Some say gentlemen were served this sweet pie as they retreated to a room to play chess. Others say the name was derived from Southerners&apos dialect: It&aposs jes&apos pie (it&aposs just pie). Yet another story suggests that the dessert is so high in sugar that it kept well in pie chests at room temperature and was therefore called "chest pie." Southern drawl slurred the name into chess pie. Or, perhaps, a lemony version of the pie was so close to the traditional English lemon curd pie, often called "cheese" pie, that chess pie became its American name.

Chess Pie Recipe Basics
Chess pie may be a chameleon confection, but at its heart are always the basic four ingredients𠅏lour, butter, sugar, and eggs. And preparation is never much more than a little stirring and about half an hour in the oven.

"There are a lot of similar desserts that share the same ingredients," explains cookbook author Jeanne Volz. "That&aposs because the South was at one time agrarian, and a farm woman had to cook with what was there—things like eggs, butter, sugar, and cornmeal. She&aposd put it all together and try to make something out of it, and when it was good, she&aposd try to remember what she did."

Of course, you can get fancy with flavorings such as lemon juice. Or add a dash of nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon. Sprinkle in some flaked coconut or toasted chopped pecans. Some believe a splash of buttermilk makes chess pie better others swear by a tablespoon of vinegar. To double the already-decadent richness of chess pie, stir in cocoa powder.


Abandoned by his mother at eight months of age, Bradley was raised by his maternal grandmother in Gainesville, Florida. At age eight, his mother took him to live with her in Brooklyn, New York. [6]

In 1962, his sister took him to the Apollo Theater to see James Brown perform. [7] Bradley was so inspired by the performance that he began to practice mimicking Brown's style of singing and stage mannerisms at home. [8]

When he was fourteen, Bradley ran away from home to escape poor living conditions—his bedroom was in a basement with a sand floor—and lived on the streets during the day and slept nights in subway cars for two years. [9] Later, he enlisted in Job Corps which eventually led him to Bar Harbor, Maine to train as a chef. [10] A co-worker told him he looked like James Brown and asked if he could sing he was at first shy but then admitted that he could. [ citation needed ] He overcame his stage fright (when a crew member pushed him through the curtains onto the stage) and performed five or six times with a band. His bandmates were later drafted into the Vietnam War, and the act never re-formed. [11] [ failed verification ]

Bradley worked in Maine as a cook for ten years, and then decided to head west, hitchhiking across the country. [7] He lived in upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California in 1977. [6] [8] There, Bradley worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years. [7] He earned extra money doing James Brown performances, where he used such stage names as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, Black Velvet and even James Brown Jr.

Black Velvet and initial recordings (1996–2010) Edit

In the mid '90s, Bradley's mother called him and asked him to move back in with her in Brooklyn so she could get to know him. [6] [12] It was there he began making a living moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator in local clubs under the name "Black Velvet". [13] [14] During this time, Bradley experienced more difficulties, including almost dying in a hospital after having an allergic reaction to penicillin, and, in a separate episode, awaking at his mother's house to a commotion as police and ambulances were arriving to the scene of his brother's murder, just down the road from there. [6]

While performing as "Black Velvet", he was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth (better known as "Bosco Mann"), a co-founder of Daptone Records. Roth introduced Bradley to Daptone artist and his future producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter and guitarist for The Bullets, and later for Menahan Street Band, who invited Bradley to his band's rehearsal. Bradley asked that the band simply perform while he made up lyrics on the spot. After writing several songs, Daptone released some of these initial recordings on vinyl starting in 2002. [15]

No Time for Dreaming & Soul of America (2011–2012) Edit

Brenneck and Bradley chose ten of these recordings to be released as Bradley's debut album No Time for Dreaming in 2011. [8]

In the spring of 2012, Soul of America, a documentary directed by Poull Brien, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Poull Brien first met Bradley when he directed the music video for "The World (Is Going Up In Flames)". This feature film told Bradley's story from his childhood in Florida, to the days of homelessness and heartache, then later his gigs as Black Velvet, and finally ended with him touring and recording at Daptone Records. The film included his performance at festivals around the world. [16]

In 2014 Bradley took part in the Hamilton, Ontario Supercrawl event. [17]

Victim of Love & Changes (2013–2016) Edit

Bradley's second album, Victim of Love came out on April 2, 2013. [18] Bradley's third album, Changes was released on April 1, 2016 and featured a cover of the Black Sabbath song, "Changes". [19] In August 2016 he fell ill and canceled a Canadian tour and his appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival July 30 (UK), where the band Darlingside filled in for him. [20]

Bradley died on September 23, 2017 of stomach cancer in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 68. He was surrounded by family and friends, including members of all the bands he worked closely with, according to a press release from his publicist. [21] [22]


Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mae "Bunny" (née Ayres 1894–1992), and Gregory Pearl Peck (1886–1962), a Rochester, New York–born chemist and pharmacist. His father was of English (paternal) and Irish (maternal) heritage, [2] [3] and his mother was of English and Scots ancestry. [4] She converted to her husband's religion, Catholicism, and Peck was raised as a Catholic. Through his Irish-born paternal grandmother Catherine Ashe (1864–1926), Peck was related to Thomas Ashe (1885–1917), who participated in the Easter Rising less than three weeks after Peck's birth and died while being force-fed during a hunger strike in 1917.

Peck's parents divorced when he was five, and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, who took him to the movies every week. [5] [6] At the age of 10, he was sent to a Catholic military school, St. John's Military Academy in Los Angeles. While he was a student there, his grandmother died. At 14, he moved back to San Diego to live with his father. He attended San Diego High School, [7] and after graduating in 1934, enrolled for one year at San Diego State Teacher's College (now known as San Diego State University). While there, he joined the track team, took his first theatre and public-speaking courses, and pledged the Epsilon Eta fraternity. [8] Peck had ambitions to be a doctor, and later transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, [9] as an English major and pre-medical student. Standing 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m), he rowed on the university crew. Although his tuition fee was only $26 per year, Peck still struggled to pay and took a job as a "hasher" (kitchen helper) for the Gamma Phi Beta sorority in exchange for meals.

At Berkeley, Peck's deep, well-modulated voice gained him attention, and after participating in a public speaking course, he decided to try acting. He was encouraged by an acting coach, who saw in him perfect material for university theatre, and he became more and more interested in acting. He was recruited by Edwin Duerr, director of the university's Little Theater, and appeared in five plays during his senior year, including as Starbuck in Moby Dick. [10] Peck would later say about his years at Berkeley that "it was a very special experience for me and three of the greatest years of my life. It woke me up and made me a human being." [11] In 1996, Peck donated $25,000 to the Berkeley rowing crew in honor of his coach, the renowned Ky Ebright. [12]

Beginnings and stage roles (1939–1943) Edit

Peck did not graduate with his friends because he lacked one course. His college friends were concerned for him and wondered how he would get along without his degree. "I have all I need from the university", he told them. Peck dropped the name "Eldred" and headed to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. He was often broke, and sometimes slept in Central Park. [13] He worked at the 1939 World's Fair as a barker, and Rockefeller Center as a tour guide for NBC television, and at Radio City Music Hall. [10] He dabbled in modelling before, in 1940, working in exchange for food at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, where he appeared in five plays, including Family Portrait and On Earth As It Is. [14]

His stage career began in 1941, when he played the secretary in a Katharine Cornell production of George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma. The play opened in San Francisco just one week before the attack on Pearl Harbor. [15] He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Emlyn Williams' The Morning Star in 1942. [10] His second Broadway performance that year was in The Willow and I with Edward Pawley. Peck's acting abilities were in high demand during World War II because he was exempted from military service, owing to a back injury suffered while receiving dance and movement lessons from Martha Graham as part of his acting training. [16] Twentieth Century Fox later claimed he had injured his back while rowing at university, but in Peck's words, "In Hollywood, they didn't think a dance class was macho enough, I guess. I've been trying to straighten out that story for years." [17] Peck performed in a total of 50 plays, including three short-lived Broadway productions, 4–5 road tours, and summer theater. [18]

Rapid critical and commercial success (1944–1946) Edit

Film historian David Thomson wrote "From his debut, Peck was always a star and rarely less than a box office success." [19] After gaining stage recognition, Peck was offered his first film role, the male lead in the war-romance Days of Glory (1944), directed by Jacques Tourneur, alongside top-billed Tamara Toumanova, a Russian-born ballerina. [10] Peck portrayed the leader of Russian guerrillas resisting the Germans in 1941 who stumble across a beautiful Russian dancer (Toumanova), who had been sent to entertain Russian troops, and protect her by letting her join their group. [10] [19] During production of the film, Tourneur "untrained" Peck from his theater training where he was used to speaking in a formal manner and projecting his voice to the entire hall. [20] Peck considered his performance in the film as quite amateurish and did not wish to watch the film after it was released. [20] The film lost money at the box office, disappeared from theaters quickly, [21] [22] and was largely dismissed by critics. [23] [20]

At the time of the film's release, critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times assessed it as slow-moving and verbose, adding that Peck's acting was stiff. [a] Film historian Barry Monush has written, "Peck's star power was evident from the word go." [10] Following the release of the film, Peck gained the attention of producers, but rather than participating in the studio system, he decided to remain a freelancer with the ability to choose his roles, signing non-exclusive contracts with four studios, [25] including an unusual dual contract with 20th Century Fox and Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick. [26]

Peck's second movie, The Keys of the Kingdom (1944), features him as an 80-year-old Roman Catholic priest looking back at his undertakings during over half a century spent as a determined, self-sacrificing missionary in China. [27] [19] The film shows the character aging from his 20s to 80 Peck featured in almost every scene. [28] The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor, which was Peck's first nomination. [29] Although the film finished only 27th at the box office in North America for 1944, [30] Jay Carr of Turner Classic Movies refers to it as Peck's breakthrough performance [31] while writer Patrick McGilligan says that it "catapulted him to stardom". [32] At the time of release, Peck's performance was lauded by Variety and The New York Times, amidst mixed reviews for the film itself. [b] The Radio Times referred to it as "a long, talkative and rather undramatic picture" but admitted that "its success saved Peck's career". [34] Craig Butler of AllMovie states "he gives a commanding performance, full of his usual quiet dignity and intelligence, and spiked with stubbornness and an inner fire that make the character truly come alive." [35]

In The Valley of Decision (1944), a romantic drama about intermingling social classes, Peck plays the eldest son of a wealthy steel mill owner in 1870s Pittsburgh who has a romance with one of his family's maids, portrayed by Greer Garson. [36] [37] who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Upon release, reviews from The New York Times and Variety were somewhat positive, with Peck's performance described as commanding. [c] It was North America's biggest grossing movie of 1945. [39]

Peck's next film was the first of two collaborations with director Alfred Hitchcock, the suspense-romance Spellbound (1945), opposite Ingrid Bergman. Peck plays a man who is thought to be the new director of the psychiatric facility where Bergman's character works as a psychoanalyst, while his amnesia and disturbing visions suggest he may be a murderer. [40] Peck and Hitchcock were described as having a cordial but cool relationship. [41] Hitchock initially hoped that Cary Grant would play the male lead. [42] Peck later stated that he thought he was too young when he first worked with Hitchcock, and that the director's on-set indifference to his character's motivation, important to Peck's acting style, shook his confidence. [26] Peck's chemistry clicked with his screen partner Bergman the actors were romantically linked at the time. [43]

Released at the end of 1945, Spellbound was a hit, ranking as the third-most successful film of 1946. [39] Spellbound was well received by critics at the time, as was Peck's performance. [d] [46] Bosley Crowther of The New York Times praised the film, stating that Peck's performance "restrained and refined, is precisely the proper counter to Bergman's exquisite role" [44] Frank Miller of Turner Classic Movies has written that the movie continued the rise of Peck into a Hollywood star and even "a major sex symbol". [47] Producer David O. Selznick noted that during preview tests of the movie, the women in the audiences had substantive reactions to the appearance of Peck's name during the opening credits, stating that during his first few scenes the audience had to be shushed to quiet down. [47] Spellbound was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture, although it was not in the National Board of Review's top ten films of the year. [29] [48]

In The Yearling (1946), [19] Peck portrays a kind-hearted father, opposite onscreen wife, Jane Wyman, whose son finds and insists on raising a three-day-old fawn in 1870s Florida. [40] Reviews upon release were very positive [e] with Bosley Crowther evaluating it as a film that "provides a wealth of satisfaction that few films ever attain". [50] The Yearling was a box office success finishing with the ninth highest box office gross for 1947 [39] and landed six Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor. Peck won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for performance. [51] In recent decades, it has continued to receive critical praise [f] with Barry Monush writing, it is "one of the best-made and most-loved family films of its day,". [10]

Peck took his first "against type" role, as a cruel, amoral cowboy in the western soap opera Duel in the Sun (1946) with top-billed Jennifer Jones as the provocative, temptress object of Peck's love, anger and desire. [55] [56] Their chemistry is described by film historian David Thomson as "a constant knife fight of sensuality". [57] Also starring Joseph Cotten as Peck's righteous half brother and competitor for the affections of the "steamy, sexpot" character of Jones, [58] the movie was resoundingly criticized, and even banned in some cities, due to its lurid nature, [59] [60] The publicity around the eroticism of Duel in the Sun, [61] one of the biggest movie advertising campaigns in history, [62] [56] used a new tactic of opening in hundreds of theaters across the U.S. at once, [63] saturating the theaters in cities where it opened, [64] resulting in the film being the second highest-grossing movie of both 1947 and the 1940s. [65] Nicknamed "Lust in the Dust", the film received mostly negative reviews upon release, [g] such as Bosley Crowther writing that "performances are strangely uneven", [68] although Jones received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The opinions of Peck's performance have been polarized. [h]

Critical successes and commercial lows (1947–1949) Edit

In 1947, Peck co-founded The La Jolla Playhouse, at his birthplace, with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire. [70] This summer stock company presented productions in the La Jolla High School Auditorium from 1947 until 1964. In 1983, the La Jolla Playhouse re-opened in a new home at the University of California, San Diego, where it operates today. It has attracted Hollywood film stars on hiatus, both as performers and enthusiastic supporters, since its inception.

Peck's next release was the modest-budget, serious adult drama, The Macomber Affair (1947), in which he portrays an African hunting trip guide assisting a visiting couple. During the trip, the wife, played by Joan Bennett, becomes enamored with Peck, and the husband gets shot. [71] Peck was very active in the development of the film, including recommending director Zoltan Korda. [72] The film received positive reviews [i] but was mostly overlooked by the public upon its release, which Peck would later say disappointed him. [72]

In November 1947, Peck's next film, the landmark Gentleman's Agreement, directed by Elia Kazan, was released and was immediately proclaimed as "Hollywood's first major attack on anti-Semitism". [74] [75] Based on a novel, the film has Peck portraying a New York magazine writer who pretends to be Jewish so he can experience personally the hostility of bigots. [76] It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Peck for Best Actor, winning in the Best Film and Best Director categories. It was the second-highest top-grossing film of 1948. [77] Peck would indicate in his later years that the film was one of his proudest works. [78] Upon release, Gentleman's Agreement was widely praised for both its courageousness and its quality, [j] [80] Peck's performance has been described as very convincing by many critics, both upon release and in recent years. [k] In recent decades, critics have expressed differing opinions regarding Peck's portrayal, the quality of the film by modern standard, and the film's effectiveness at addressing anti-semitism, [l] with film writer Matt Bailey writing "Gentleman's Agreement may have been an important film at one time, but was never a good film," [85] [m] [87] [n]

Peck's next three releases were each commercial disappointments. The Paradine Case (1947), was his second and last film with Hitchcock. When producer David O. Selznick insisted on casting Peck for the movie, Hitchcock was apprehensive, questioning whether Peck could properly portray an English lawyer. [90] In later years, Peck did not speak fondly of the making of the movie [91] Released in 1947,The Paradine Case was a British-set courtroom drama about a defense lawyer in love with his client. [57] It had an international cast including Charles Laughton, Ethel Barrymore and Alida Valli as the accused. [92] The movie received positive reviews, many complimenting Peck's performance, [o] but was panned by the public, only recouping half of the $4.2 million production costs. [94] In recent decades, the film was criticized by most prominent writers, although critic's praised Peck's acting. [p] Writers Paul Condon and Jim Sangster stated that "Peck is vulnerable yet believable in a role that requires significant delicacy of touch to maintain viewer's loyalty and interest." [97]

Peck shared top billing with Anne Baxter in the western Yellow Sky (1948), the namesake setting as the ghost town Peck's group of bank robbers seek refuge in, encountering the spunky tomboy, Baxter, her grandfather, alongside their gold. [98] Peck gradually develops an interest in Baxter's character, who in turn seems to rediscover her femininity and develops an interest in him. [99] [q] Critics which commented on Peck's performance felt it to be solid. [r] [101] as being slightly unbelievable, [s] [100] The film was only moderately commercially successful. [103] A year later, Peck was paired with Ava Gardner for their first of three films together in The Great Sinner (1949), a period drama-romance where a Russian writer, Peck, becomes addicted to gambling while helping Gardner and her father pay back their debts. [104] Peck ended up becoming great friends with Gardner, and would later declare her his favorite co-star. [10] Their friendship lasted the rest of Gardner's life, and upon her death in 1990, Peck took in both her housekeeper and her dog. [105] The film received unfavorable reviews usually describing it as dull, [t] and the public was not interested, rendering it a commercial disappointment. [107] In modern times, the film has received mixed reviews [u] [52] but TV Guide says "this often gripping film" has strong performances, that "Peck is powerful" in his portrayal. [108] Peck initially rejected the film, his last movie under his MGM contract, eventually agreeing to do it as a favor to the studio's production head. [109]

His second 1949 release, Twelve O'Clock High (1949), was released, the first of many films in which Peck embodied the brave, effective, yet human, "fighting man". Based on true events, Peck portrays the new commander of a U.S. World War II bomber squadron tasked with whipping the crew into shape, but then breaks down emotionally under the stress of the job. [76] The National Board of Review ranked it in their top ten films of the year [48] and it received four Academy Awards nominations, Best Actor for Peck. [29] Peck was later recognized in the New York Film Critics Circle for the role. [51] Twelve O'Clock High was a commercial success finishing tenth in the 1950 box office rankings. [110] The film received strong reviews upon release. [v] [112] [113] Recent critics maintain positive opinions. [w] [117] Evaluations of Peck's performance were positive, [x] with the New York Times describing "High and particular praise for Gregory Peck. Peck does an extraordinarily able job in revealing the hardness and the softness of a general exposed to peril." [118] Film historian Peter von Bagh considers Peck's performance "as Brigadier General Frank Savage to be the most enduring of his life". [119]

Worldwide fame (1950–1953) Edit

Peck began the 1950s with two westerns, the first being The Gunfighter (1950), directed by Henry King, who had worked with him previously on Twelve O'Clock High. Peck plays an aging "Top Gun of the West" who is now weary of killing and wishes to retire with his alluring but pragmatic wife and his seven-year-old son, both of which he has not seen for many years. [120] [121] Peck and King did much photographic research about the Wild West Era, discovering that most cowboys had facial hair, "bowl" haircuts and wore beat-up clothing Peck subsequently wore a mustache while filming. [122] [123] The studio's president called for re-shoots upon seeing the initial footage due to the mustache, but backed out due to costs inflated by the production manager at King and Peck's persuasion. [123] [124] The Gunfighter did fair but disappointing business at the box office, [125] earning $5.6 million in receipts, the 47th most for 1951. [126] 20th Century Fox's studio chief Darryl Zanuck blamed Peck's mustache for the lukewarm reaction from Peck's typical fans, stating that wanted to see usual handsome, clean-shaven Peck, not the authentic-cowboy Peck. [123] The Gunfighter, received "solid reviews" upon release, with particular enthusiasm from some critics, [127] [y] and Peck's performance "bringing him some of his best notices". [10] The New York Times wrote, "..through Mr. Peck's fine performance, a fair comprehension is conveyed of the loneliness and the isolation of a man with a lurid name . an arresting and quite exciting film." [129] The movie has grown in critical appreciation over the years and "is now considered one of the all-time classic westerns" [130] [z] Critics of recent decades uniformly praise Peck's performance, [aa] with David Parkinson of RadioTimes saying "Peck gives a performance of characteristic dignity and grit." [134] [131] [ab]

Peck's next western was Only the Valiant (1951), a low-budget movie, for which Peck disliked the script and would later label as the low point of his career. [135] Peck's non-exclusive contract with David O. Selznick permitted Selznick to sell his services to other studios, and Selznick sold his services to Warner Bros for this movie after he ran into financial difficulties. [135] The plot of the film is listed as "an unpopular, strict leader gathers together a rag-tag group of men and leads them on an extremely dangerous mission, turning them into a well-oiled fighting machine by the end and earning respect along the way." [136] Peck portrays a U.S. army captain and the mission is to protect an undermanned army fort against the attacking Apache. [137] Peck's romantic interest was played by Barbara Payton. [43] [138] Variety's review said "In this cavalry yarn . great pains have been exerted to provide interesting characters. Peck makes the most of a colorful role." [139] It earned a moderate $5.7 million, ranking at 35th for the year. [140] This little-remembered picture, today receives mixed reviews, although Peck's acting is praised. [ac]

Peck's second 1951 release was the book-to-film adaptation Captain Horatio Hornblower, featuring Peck as the commander of a warship in the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars who finds romance with Virginia Mayo's character. Peck was attracted to the character, saying, "I thought Hornblower was an interesting character. I never believe in heroes who are unmitigated and unadulterated heroes, who never know the meaning of fear." [144] The role had been originally intended for Errol Flynn, but he was felt to be too old by the time the project came to fruition. [145] Captain Horatio Hornblower was a box office success, finishing ninth for the year in the UK [146] and seventh in the North America. [147] Peck's role in the film was largely praised by reviewers. The Associated Press stated that Peck provided "the proper dash and authenticity as the remarkable nineteenth-century skipper" [148] and Variety later wrote "Peck stands out as a skilled artist, capturing the spirit of the character and atmosphere of the period." [149] Modern reviews have given mixed reactions toward Peck's performance. [ad] Richard Gilliam of AllMovie argues, it is "an excellent performance from Gregory Peck" stating that "Peck brings his customary aura of intelligence and moral authority to the role," [152] while the Radio Times asserts "Gregory Peck plays Hornblower as a high-principle stuff shirt and thus confounds director Raoul Walsh's efforts to inject some pace." [153] [ae]

His third film with Henry King's direction, David and Bathsheba, a Biblical epic, was the top-grossing movie of 1951. [110] The two-hit-movie of Horatio and David elevated Peck to the status of Hollywood mega-star. [155] David and Bathsheba tells the story of David (Peck), who slew Goliath as a teenager and, later, as beloved King, becomes infatuated with the married Bathsheba, played by Susan Hayward. [156] Peck's performance in David and Bathsheba was evaluated upon release by the New York Times "as an authoritative performance," [157] and Variety stated "Peck is a commanding personality. he shades his character expertly,", [158] In recent years, critics have argued that his "stiff" performance is made up for in charisma, but overall praised his strength in the role [159] [160] [161] and Leonard Maltin says the movie has "only fair performances". [52] David and Bathsheba opened with positive reviews, praising it for avoided excessive spectacle [af] while remaining an epic with "dignified restraint". [162]

Peck returned to swashbucklers in The World in His Arms (1952), directed by Raoul Walsh, who had also directed Captain Horatio Hornblower. Peck portrays a seal-hunting ship captain in 1850 San Francisco who romances a Russian countess played by Ann Blyth and ends up engaging a rival sealer played by Anthony Quinn in a sailing race to Alaska. [163] [164] The film was given positive reviews by both contemporary and modern critics. [ag] [166] [167] All Movie commented that Peck is "a superb actor, who brings enormous skill to the part, but who simply lacks the overt derring-do and danger that is part of the role." [168] The film was moderately successful, moreso in the UK than in North America. [169] [170]

He reunited with previous collaborators King, Hayward, and Gardner in The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), an adaptation of a short story by Ernest Hemingway. [171] The film stars Peck as a self-concerned writer looking back on his life, particularly his romance with his first wife (Gardner), while he slowly dies from an accidental wound while on an African hunting expedition with his current wife (Hayward) nursing him. [172] The film was praised for its cinematography and direction. [ah] [ai] Most reviews praise Peck's performance, with TV Guide saying the story is "enacted with power and conviction by Peck," although some criticized his "bland" expressions. [177] The Snows of Kilimanjaro was a box office hit and ranked as the fourth highest-grossing movie of 1952. [39]

Peck's "first real foray into comedy" was Roman Holiday (1953), directed by William Wyler. [10] He portrayed American journalist Joe Bradley opposite Audrey Hepburn as a European princess in her first significant film role. [178] [10] [179] [180] [181] Peck's role in Roman Holiday had originally been offered to Cary Grant, who turned it down because the part appeared to be more of a supporting role to the princess. [178] Peck had the same concern, but was persuaded by Wyler that the on-site filming in Rome would be an exceptional experience, and accepted the part, even eventually insisting that Hepburn's name be above the title of the film (just beneath his) in the opening credits. [178] Peck later stated that he had told his agent "I’m smart enough to know this girl’s going to win the Oscar in her first picture, and I’m going to look like a damned fool if her name is not up there on top with mine." [124]

Roman Holiday was a commercial success, finishing 22nd in the box office in 1953. [110] The film continued to garner money after its release, with "modern sources noting it earned $10 million total at the box office". [182] Critics praised Peck's performance Bosley Crowther stated that "Peck makes a stalwart and manly escort. whose eyes belie his restrained exterior," [181] while the Hollywood Reporter commented that "Peck turns in another of his outstanding performances playing the love-smitten reporter with intelligence and good-humored conviction" [183] [184] The film was met with critical acclaim. [aj] [184] [186] [83] [ak] [189] [190] It was nominated for multiple accolades, including 8 Academy Awards, with Hepburn winning for Best Actress Peck also scored a BAFTA nomination for Foreign Actor. [39] At the 1955 Golden Globe awards, Peck and Hepburn were named the World Film Favorite Award winners for their respective genders. [39]

Overseas and New York (1954–1957) Edit

With his acclaimed performance in The Gunfighter, Peck was offered the lead role in High Noon (1952) but turned it down because he did not want to become typecast as a Westerns actor. [127] Peck was based in the United Kingdom for about eighteen months between 1953 and 1955 new tax laws had drastically raised the tax rate on high-income earners, but the tax amount due would be reduced if the payer worked outside the country for extended periods. [191] Proceeding Roman Holiday's production in Italy, his three subsequent films were shot and set in London, Germany and Southeast Asia, respectively. Peck starred in The Million Pound Note (1954), based on a Mark Twain short story. [192] Peck enjoyed the films production as "it was a good comedy opportunity" and "was given probably the most elegant wardrobe he had ever worn in film". [192] He plays a penniless American seaman in 1903 London who is given a one million pound bank note by two rich, eccentric brothers who wish to ascertain if he can survive for one month without spending any of it. [193] [192] The film performed modestly at the box office and received mixed reviews for its production. [192] [193] [194] [al] Adrian Turner of the Radio Times praised it as a "lovely comedy" which "has a lot of charm and gentle humor, owing to Peck's evident delight in the role and the unobtrusive direction" adding it has a "witty script". [196]

He portrayed a US army colonel investigating the kidnapping of a young soldier in Night People (1954). [197] Peck later stated that the role of was one of his favorites as his lines were "tough and crisp and full of wisecracks, and more aggressive than other roles" he'd played. [198] The film received praise for its production and direction, but did poorly at the box office. [199] [198] Peck flew to Sri Lanka to film The Purple Plain (1954), playing a Canadian bomber pilot with strong emotional problems during the Second World War. [191] [200] [201] The Purple Plain was panned in the United States but became a hit in the United Kingdom, ranking tenth at the box office in 1954, [202] and was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film. [39] [191] [203] Of his performance, Crowther wrote, "the extent of Peck’s agony is impressively transmitted. in vivid and unrelenting scenes." [204] In recent years, the movie "has become one of Peck’s most respected works," [191] [52] [200] with critic David Thomson rating Peck's performance as excellent. [19] Craig Butler of All Movie describes "Peck is astonishing, giving the sort of layered, intense yet nuanced performance that deserves major awards". [205]

In 1954, Peck was named the third most popular non-British film star in the United Kingdom. [206] Peck did not have a film released in 1955. Peck made a comeback in the US. with The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956), in which he portrays a married, ex-soldier father of three who is increasingly haunted by his deeds in Italy during the Second World War. [207] [208] The film saw Peck reunited with Duel in the Sun co-star Jennifer Jones during the filming of a scene where their characters argue, Jones clawed his face with her fingernails, prompting Peck to say to the director "I don’t call that acting. I call it personal." [209] The movie was successful, finishing eighth in box office gross for the year [210] despite contemporary and modern reviews being mixed. [209] [am] [211] [214] [213] [an] [216] [217] Butler of AllMovie declared that "the role fits (Gregory Peck) as if it had been tailor-made for him. Peck's particular brilliance lies in the quiet strength that is so much a part of him and the way in which he uses subtle changes in that quietness to signal mammoth emotions. He's given ample opportunity to do so here and the results are enthralling. an exceptional performance". [216] Radio Times refers to "the excellent Peck" and states Peck plays "the appealing flawed hero".

Peck next starred Captain Ahab in the 1956 film adaptation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick he was unsure about his suitability for the part but was persuaded by director John Huston to take the role. [218] [219] Peck almost drowned twice during filming in stormy weather off the sea coasts of Ireland and several other performers and crew members suffered injuries. [220] John Huston was named best director of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review for Moby Dick, but did not receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director. The movie had the ninth highest box office of the year in North America, [39] but cost $4.5 million to make, more than double the original budget, and was considered a commercial disappointment. [220] In 2003, editor Barry Monush wrote, "There was, and continues to be, controversy over his casting as Ahab in Moby Dick." [10] Upon opening, Variety said: "Peck often seems understated and much too gentlemanly for a man supposedly consumed by insane fury." [221] [219] The Hollywood Reporter argued "Peck plays it. in a brooding, smoldering vein, but none the less intensely and dynamically." [222] In modern times, critics have said Peck is: "often mesmerizing" [10] "stoic" and "more than adequate" " [223] and "lending a deranged dignity" to the role. [52] [19] [224] [177] [225] [226] Peck himself later said "I wasn't mad enough, not crazy enough, not obsessive enough – I should have done more. At the time, I didn't have more in me." [227]

For romantic comedy Designing Woman (1957), Peck was permitted to choose his leading lady: Lauren Bacall, who was content to be busy with work as her husband was gravely ill at the time. [228] The film revolves around a fashion designer and a sports writer on vacation, and, although Peck's character already has a partner back home, have a brief affair and hastily get married, only to find out when they are back home that they have vastly different lifestyles. [229] The film was mildly successful and entered at 35th for annual gross, but did not break even. [230] [231] Upon release, Variety said "Bacall..is excellent. Peck is fine as the confused sportswriter" and added that all the other actors/actresses give top-notch performances. [232] [ao] In recent years, the few reviews from prominent critics or websites are generally positive [ap] with TV Guide exclaiming "they’ve made. the famous stoneface. Peck, somewhat funny. Bacall gives an especially good performance." Designing Women won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. [234] Some movie review books or websites do not include this movie.

Reflections on violence (1958–1959) Edit

Peck's next movie, the western The Bravados (1958), reunited him with director Henry King after a six-year gap. [125] King was widely considered to have produced some of Peck's best work Peck once said "King was like an older brother, even a father figure. We communicated without talking anything to death. It was direction by osmosis." [124] [235] [236] In The Bravados, Peck's character spends weeks pursuing four outlaws whom he believes raped and murdered his wife while agonizing over his own morals. [237] [238] [239] The film was a moderate success, finishing in the top 20 of the box office for 1959. [240] [39] In recent years, the film and Peck's performance has received mixed reviews [aq] with TimeOut asserting that "Peck's "crisis of conscience..is worked out in perfunctory religious terms" [242] and TV Guide stating Peck's cowboy's "moment of truth is a powerful one and he gives it all the value it deserves, although much of his acting up to then had been lackluster". [243]

In 1956, Peck made a foray into the film production business, organizing Melville Productions and later, Brentwood Productions. [244] These companies produced five movies over seven years, all starring Peck, [244] including Pork Chop Hill, for which Peck served as the executive producer. [245] The films were observed by some as becoming more political, [26] although Peck said he tried to avoid any "overt preachiness". [124] In 1958, Peck and good friend William Wyler co-produced the western epic The Big Country (1958) separate from Peck's production company. [246] The project ran into numerous issuesWyler and Peck were dissatisfied with the script, which underwent almost daily revisions, causing stress for the performers. [247] Peck and the screenwriters ended up rewriting the script after each day's shooting, causing stress for the performers, who would arrive the next day and find their lines and even entire scenes different than for what they had prepared. [248] There were disagreements between director Wyler and the performers, resulting in Peck storming off-set when Wyler refused to re-shoot a close-up scene. [247] Peck and Wyler's relationship remained strained for three years after production. [247] [248] Peck said in 1974 that he had tried producing and acting simultaneously and felt "either it can't be done or it's just that I don't do it well". [236]

The film itself was a big hit, finishing fourth at the domestic box office in 1958. [249] and second in the UK. [250] [10] [251] [252] At the time of release, reviews for The Big Country were mixed, regarding the producers' prioritization of characterization versus technical filmmaking opinions on Peck's performance were also disparate. [ar] In recent decades, critical opinion of The Big Country has generally risen although there is still disagreement many prominent critics and publications describe the cinematography as excellent, some laud Peck's performance, and some cite the film as too long. [as] [258] [259]

Peck's next feature was Pork Chop Hill (1959), based on true events depicted in a book. [260] Peck portrays a lieutenant during the Korean War who is ordered to use his infantry company to take the strategically insignificant Pork Chop Hill, as its capture would strengthen the U.S.’s position in the almost-complete armistice negotiations. [261] As executive producer, Peck recruited Lewis Milestone of All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) to direct. Many critics label it as an anti-war film [10] [262] it has also been stated that "as shooting progressed it became clear Peck and Milestone had very different artistic visions." [263] Peck later said the movie showed "the futility of settling political arguments by killing young men. We tried not to preach we let it speak for itself." [124] Despite solid reviews, the film did only fair business at the box office. [264] Most critics, both upon Pork Chop Hill's opening [at] and in recent years, [au] agree that it is a gritty, grim and realistic rendering of battle action. [267] Three critics who comment on Peck's performance are laudatory, [av] with Variety saying Peck's performance is "completely believable. He comes through as a born leader, and yet it is quite clear that he has moments of doubt and of uncertainty." [261]

Peck's second release of 1959 cast him opposite Deborah Kerr in Beloved Infidel which as based on the memoirs of film columnist Sheilah Graham. The film portrays the romance between Graham (Kerr) and author F. Scott Fitzgerald (Peck) during the last three years of his life, towards the end of which Fitzgerald was often drunk and abusive. [268] Crowther assessed it as "generally flat and uninteresting" with a "postured performance of Gregory Peck. his grim-faced, monotony as a washout is relieved in a couple of critical scenes by some staggering and bawling as a drunkard, but that is hardly enough." [269] Variety said that "the acting, while excellent and persuasive in parts, is shallow and artificial in others. Problem is primarily with Peck who brings to Fitzgerald the kind of clean-cut looks and youthful appearance that conflict with the image of a has-been novelist." [270] Reviews from five prominent scribes in recent decades are similar, saying, Peck was blatantly miscast, [aw] with TV Guide specifying that because of their physical differences Craig Butler saying "Peck was an extremely talented actor, but there is nothing in his personality that matches the qualities associated with Fitzgerald. [19] [274]

Peck starred next in On the Beach (1959) alongside Ava Gardner in their third and final film together. [275] The film is considered to be Hollywood's first major movie about the implications of nuclear warfare. Directed by Stanley Kramer and based on a best-selling book, the film shows the last weeks of several people in Australia as they await the onset of radioactive fallout from nuclear bombs. [276] Peck portrays a U.S. submarine commander who has brought his crew to Australia from the North Pacific Ocean after nuclear bombs had been detonated in the northern hemisphere, eventually romancing Gardner's character. [276] The film was named to the top ten lists of the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. [277] It was successful at the North American box office finishing eighth for the year, [39] but due to its high production cost it lost $700,000. [278] On the Beach was praised by critics. [ax] [102] [276] [ay] In recent decades, critical opinion of On the Beach is mixed with some prominent critics asserting the script is poor, [az] but some critics saying the acting, especially Peck, and cinematography are excellent, and that, overall, the film is powerful. [ba] Butler of AllMovie writes, ". problematic is the clichéd, almost soap-operatic relationship between Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner and the somewhat melodramatic handling of other sections of the film. The cast helps tremendously. Peck has rarely been more stalwart. Even decades after its release, Beach is a harrowing and devastating experience." [283]

Second commercial and critical peak (1960–1964) Edit

Peck's first release of 1961 was The Guns of Navarone. [284] A J. Lee Thompson-directed World War II drama, it depicts Peck's six-man commando team, which includes David Niven and Anthony Quinn, undertaking a mission to destroy two seemingly impregnable German-controlled artillery guns on Navarone Island. [59] The team of specialists (Peck is the mountain climbing expert) needs to destroy the guns so British ships can evacuate 2,000 trapped British soldiers across the Aegean Sea. [59] [285] During filming Peck said his team seems to defeat "the entire German army" which approached parody, and he concluded that that cast members had to "play their roles with complete conviction" to make the film convincing. [286] [287] The film was the top-grossing movie of 1961, [110] and became "one of the most popular adventure movies of its day". [10] It landed seven Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Special Effects other accolades include the Golden Globe Award for Best Dramatic Movie and the BAFTA for Best British Screenplay. [29] [286]

Critics praised The Guns of Navarone, it being named the best picture of the year in Film Daily’s annual poll of critics and industry reporters in 1961. [bb] In recent decades, most prominent critics or publications give it positive reviews [bc] [292] [293] Paul V. Peckly of The New York Herald Tribune wrote, "Peck may seem at times a trifle wooden and his German accent too obviously American . but his not too introspective, somewhat baffled manner is manly and fitted to the role he plays. [286] [285]

Peck's next film was Cape Fear (1962), produced by Melville Productions. Peck portrays a lawyer whose witness testimony convicted Robert Mitchum's character, who upon being released from prison after serving eight years for sexual assault, threatens to get back at Peck through his wife and daughter, and meticulously terrorizes the family. [294] Peck was anxious to have Mitchum in the role of Cady, but Mitchum declined at first and only relented after Peck and Thompson delivered a case of bourbon to Mitchum's home. [295] Many cuts were made to the movie to satisfy censorship codes in the US and UK. [295] The film grossed only $5 million at the North American box office, 47th for the year. [296] Crowther and Variety gave Cape Fear solid reviews. [bd] Crowther said, Both expressed satisfaction with Peck's performance, although Variety noted he could have been a little more stressed by the occurrences. Other reviews were mixed due to the movie's disturbing nature, including The New Yorker. [295] In recent decades, reviews have been generally positive. [be] [303] Critics commented on Peck's performance in Cape Fear, with TV Guide saying "Peck is careful not to act the fear he’s an interesting foe for Mitchum."

After Cape Fear, Peck planned to make his directorial debut with They're a Weird Mob but eventually did not make the film. [304]

Peck's next role was in the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. [305] Peck plays the part of a kind and scrupulously honest lawyer father, Atticus Finch. [305] Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, which was his fifth and last time nominated. The film received seven other Academy Award nominations including for Best Picture, Director and Cinematography, also winning Adapted Screenplay and Art Direction. At the Golden Globes, Peck won for Best Actor in a Drama and the film was nominated for Best Film and Director the film was nominated for Best Film at the BAFTAs. [bf] [306] The film was a commercial success as the sixth highest-grossing film of the year. [296] In 2003, Atticus Finch, as portrayed by Peck, was named the greatest film hero of the past 100 years by the American Film Institute. [307] Peck would later say of To Kill A Mockingbird: "My favorite film, without any question." [83]

When producer Alan J. Pakula and director Robert Mulligan approached Peck about taking the role of Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, Peck agreed to read the book. He stated "I got started on it and of course I sat up all night and read straight through it. I called them at about eight o’clock in the morning and said 'When do I start?'" [308] [bg] Peck did eventually request changes so that film deviated somewhat from the book, mainly showing more scenes of Peck in the courtroom than were in the original rough cut, thus shifting the focus away from the children, who had been the focus of the book, and more towards Atticus Finch. [bh] [bi] [308] Peck's performance received universal acclaim from critics. Variety wrote that the role was especially challenging for Peck but that he "not only succeeds, but makes it appear effortless, etching a portrayal of strength, dignity and intelligence." [bj] The Hollywood Reporter said "Peck gives probably the finest performance of his career, understated, casual, effective." [315] Time posited "Peck, though he is generally excellent, lays it on a bit thick at times – he seems to imagine himself the Abe Lincoln of Alabama." [316] [317] Reviews in recent decades have similarly lauded Peck's performance, [bk] with Film Monthly observing, "Gregory Peck's performance as lawyer Atticus Finch is just as beautiful, natural, and nuanced as the movie itself." [322] [10] Both Michael Gebert [39] and Andrew Collins of Radiotimes [323] refer to Atticus Finch as the role that defined Peck's career.

Mature years and later work (1965–2000) Edit

Peck served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969, Chairman of the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund in 1971, and National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966. He was a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966. [324]

Peck's rare attempts at villainous roles were not acclaimed. Early on, he played the renegade son in the Western Duel in the Sun, and, later in his career, the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele in The Boys from Brazil. [325] In the 1980s, Peck moved to television, where he starred in the mini-series The Blue and the Gray, playing Abraham Lincoln. He also starred with Christopher Plummer, John Gielgud, and Barbara Bouchet in the television film The Scarlet and The Black, about Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a real-life Catholic priest in the Vatican who smuggled Jews and other refugees away from the Nazis during World War II.

Peck, Mitchum, and Martin Balsam all had roles in the 1991 remake of Cape Fear, directed by Martin Scorsese. In the remake, Peck played Max Cady's lawyer. His last prominent film role also came in 1991, in Other People's Money, directed by Norman Jewison and based on the stage play of that name. Peck played a business owner trying to save his company against a hostile takeover bid by a Wall Street liquidator played by Danny DeVito.

Peck retired from active film-making after the film. Peck spent the last few years of his life touring the world doing speaking engagements in which he would show clips from his movies and take questions from the audience. He came out of retirement for a 1998 mini-series version of one of his most famous films, Moby Dick, portraying Father Mapple (played by Orson Welles in the 1956 version), with Patrick Stewart as Captain Ahab, the role Peck played in the earlier film. It was his final performance, and it won him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film. Peck had been offered the role of Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but died before he could accept it. The Irish actor David Kelly was then given the part. [326]

In 1947, while many Hollywood figures were being blacklisted for similar activities, Peck signed a letter deploring a House Un-American Activities Committee investigation of alleged communists in the film industry. [ citation needed ] A life-long Democrat, Peck was suggested in 1970 as a possible Democratic candidate to run against Ronald Reagan for the office of California Governor. Although he later admitted that he had no interest in being a candidate himself for public office, Peck encouraged one of his sons, Carey Peck, to run for political office. He was defeated both times by slim margins in races in 1978 and 1980 against Republican U.S. Representative Bob Dornan, another former actor. [ citation needed ]

Peck revealed that former President Lyndon Johnson had told him that, had he sought re-election in 1968, he intended to offer Peck the post of U.S. ambassador to Ireland – a post Peck, owing to his Irish ancestry, said he might well have taken, saying, "[It] would have been a great adventure". [327] The actor's biographer Michael Freedland substantiates the report, and says that Johnson indicated that his presentation of the Medal of Freedom to Peck would perhaps make up for his inability to confer the ambassadorship. [328] President Richard Nixon, though, placed Peck on his "enemies list", owing to Peck's liberal activism. [329]

Peck was outspoken against the Vietnam War, while remaining supportive of his son, Stephen, who fought there. In 1972, Peck produced the film version of Daniel Berrigan's play The Trial of the Catonsville Nine about the prosecution of a group of Vietnam protesters for civil disobedience. Despite his reservations about American general Douglas MacArthur as a man, Peck had long wanted to play him on film, and did so in MacArthur in 1976. [330]

In 1978, Peck traveled to Alabama, the setting of To Kill a Mockingbird, to campaign for Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Donald W. Stewart of Anniston, who defeated the Republican candidate, James D. Martin, a former U.S. representative from Gadsden. In 1987, Peck undertook the voice-overs for television commercials opposing President Reagan's Supreme Court nomination of conservative judge Robert Bork. [331] Bork's nomination was defeated. Peck was also a vocal supporter of a worldwide ban of nuclear weapons, and a life-long advocate of gun control. [332] [333]

Documents declassified in 2017 show that the National Security Agency had created a biographical file on Peck as part of its monitoring of prominent US citizens. [334]

Peck was the owner of thoroughbred steeplechase race horses. In 1963 Owen's Sedge finished seventh in the Grand National. [335] Another of his horses, Different Class, raced in the 1968 Grand National [336] The horse was favored, but finished third.

Peck was a close friend of French president Jacques Chirac. [337]

Peck was Roman Catholic, and once considered entering the priesthood. Later in his career, a journalist asked Peck if he was a practicing Catholic. Peck answered: "I am a Roman Catholic. Not a fanatic, but I practice enough to keep the franchise. I don't always agree with the Pope. There are issues that concern me, like abortion, contraception, the ordination of women. and others." [338] His second marriage was performed by a justice of the peace, not by a priest, because the Church prohibits remarriage if a former spouse is still living, and the first marriage was not annulled. Peck was a significant fund-raiser for the missionary work of a priest friend of his (Father Albert O'Hara), and served as co-producer of a cassette recording of the New Testament with his son Stephen. [338]

Relationships and marriages Edit

In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen (1911–2008), with whom he had three sons: Jonathan (1944–1975), Stephen (b. 1946), and Carey Paul (b. 1949). They were divorced on December 31, 1955. Peck's eldest son was found dead in his home on June 26, 1975, in what authorities believed was a suicide. [339]

During his first marriage, Peck had a brief affair with Spellbound co-star Ingrid Bergman. [43] He confessed the affair to Brad Darrach of People in a 1987 interview, saying: "All I can say is that I had a real love for her [Bergman], and I think that's where I ought to stop. I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work." [340] [341] [342]

On New Year's Eve in 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Peck married Véronique Passani (1932–2012), [343] a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1952 before he went to Italy to film Roman Holiday. He asked her to lunch six months later, and they became inseparable. They had a son, Anthony Peck (b. 1956), [344] and a daughter, Cecilia Peck (b. 1958). [345] The couple remained married until Gregory Peck's death. His son Anthony is a former husband of supermodel Cheryl Tiegs. Peck had grandchildren from both marriages. [346] One of his grandsons from his first marriage is actor Ethan Peck.

On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep from bronchopneumonia at the age of 87 at his home in Los Angeles. [347] His wife, Veronique, was by his side. [5]

The Gregory Peck Award for Cinematic Excellence was created by the Peck family in 2008 to commemorate their father by honoring a director, producer or actor's life's work. Originally presented at the Dingle International Film Festival in his ancestral home in Dingle, Ireland, [351] since 2014 it has been presented at the San Diego International Film Festival in the city where he was born and raised. Recipients include Gabriel Byrne, Laura Dern, Alan Arkin, Annette Bening, Patrick Stewart and Laurence Fishburne.

Peck received five total Academy Award nominations for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and Twelve O'Clock High (1949), winning the Best Actor for his performance in To Kill a Mockingbird (1963). In 1967, he received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. [352] Peck received five nominations for the Golden Globe Awards, recognizing his work in The Yearling (1946), To Kill a Mockingbird (1963), Captain Newman, M.D. (1964), MacArthur (1977), The Boys from Brazil (1978) and Moby Dick (1998). Peck won the Golden Globe for Best Actor twice as well as one Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, and was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969. [355]

In 1969, President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 1998, Peck received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton for his contributions to acting. [358] During his lifetime, he also was a recipient of the AFI Life Achievement Award, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. [353] [359] [360] For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Boulevard. In November 2005, the star was stolen, and has since been replaced. [361]

Peck donated his personal collection of home movies and prints of his feature films to the Film Archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1999. The film material at the Academy Film Archive is complemented by printed materials in the Gregory Peck papers at the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library. [362]

Recipe: The Best Ever Classic Italian Salad Dressing

What’s in your bottled salad dressing? Unfortunately, it’s not a pretty picture for most store-bought options. The good news is making your own homemade salad dressing really doesn’t take much time or skill. And not only are they usually a whole lot cheaper, but homemade dressings also taste better and contain real ingredients.

My son and I used to use Girard’s Champagne dressing. I thought because it was a premium brand that it had to be “better”&mdashboy was I wrong! With MSG, caramel coloring, preservatives, and lots of other processed ingredients, I ultimately decided to make a change. So when we started our real food journey we gradually made the move to making our own, Homemade Italian Salad Dressing.

featuring Cher and Judith Light

The New York attorney general's office said Tuesday night it has informed the Trump Organization that its investigation into the company "is no longer purely civil in nature."

Driving the news: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) announced last August that her office had filed a lawsuit to compel the Trump Organization to comply with subpoenas related to an investigation into whether former President Trump and his company improperly inflated the value of its assets on financial statements.

Fabien Levy, a spokesperson for James, said in an emailed statement: "We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA." Levy declined to comment further.

Representatives for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn Recipe

Cheddar Cheese Popcorn is a great snack when you are in need of a salt fix! It is just like the kind of popcorn you buy in tins at Christmas time. The best part is that this recipe is so very easy to make and just takes a few minutes.

If you love cheese and popcorn, then you will quickly become addicted to this Cheddar Cheese Popcorn recipe. Believe it or not, the secret to cheddar cheese popcorn is to use processed powdered cheese. Real cheese will make oily clumps when melted on the popcorn. Powdered cheese will evenly coat the popcorn kernels better.

  • 12 cups (1 large batch) popped corn*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese Powder**
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne powder (chili powder will be milder)
  • 1/2 cup butter

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Popcorn can be air popped to reduce fat or cooked in oil (your choice).If cooked in oil, place the popped popcorn in a paper bag to help drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.

In a small bowl, mix together the cheddar cheese powder, mustard powder, and chili powder set aside.

In a small sauce pan or microwave, melt the butter. Pour the melted butter over the popcorn and shake or stir to coat popcorn evenly. Immediately pour the cheese mixture over the buttered popcorn shake or stir to coat evenly.

Pour the Cheddar Cheese Popcorn mixture into a large roasting pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes until the popcorn mixture has dried out and the moisture is gone. Remove from oven and serve immediately or let cool completely and store in airtight containers or re-sealable bags.

* Remember to remove any un-popped popcorn kernels.

** Often found in the popcorn section of most grocery stores. If unable to find cheddar cheese powder, purchase boxes of Macaroni and Cheese and use the powdered cheese flavor packets.

Watch the video: Jimmy Newman - By The Time I Get To Phoenix (July 2022).


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