Chef Tell — one of America’s first TV chefs — passed away from heart failure at the age of 63.
Born Friedman Paul Erhardt, Chef Tell was beloved for his quick wit and Santa-like disposition. He was friendly, fun, and “peppered” his recipe demonstrations with humor and lots of entertainment.
He was often invited to guest on shows like Regis and Kathie Lee and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and even did comedy segments for Saturday Night Live and The Muppet Show. He was given his own show with PBS. “He was the first of the great showman chefs,” former Inquirer restaurant critic Elaine Tait said. “Up until his era, chefs stayed in the kitchen.”
Tell also ran several successful restaurants, and had developed several cookbooks and product lines. His last cookbook was about cooking for diabetics, based on his own experience.