How To Write A Biography

How To Get Started:

First, the Idea

I had come to the conclusion that no one else was going to write about the life of Friedemann Paul Erhardt (a.k.a culinary icon CHEF TELL) and that I better do something about  that. After all, he had been my brother-in-law.

I was not sure that writing his life-story was a worthy endeavor — family and friends were in opposite camps about the man: some loved him, others hated him. I just wanted to research the facts and decide for myself.

In December of 2011, one of my sisters, Bunny Erhardt, widowed since Chef had passed away in 2007, granted my request for access to her friends and acquaintances. She gave me permission to write the first Chef Tell biography.

Embarked on my quest to discover whether this man was worthy of my time or not, I developed a three-part outline loosely fitted to the early, middle and later years of his lifetime.  As the work progressed, data gathered on my desk and on sheets of papers surrounding my desk, fitted into corresponding sections of that outline. Eventually, a timeline list of major events in Tell’s life took shape and became the backbone to my body of work.

As people’s names popped up, I jotted these down, notching a mark each time the same name appeared more than once. The resultant list directed me to individuals who would become subjects of interviews that, I hoped, would provide personal anecdotes, as well as qualify the data, which, by now, were adding up to conflicting accounts.

Fact and fiction overlapped more than a few times. These were not proverbial “truth is stranger than fiction” mishaps; either the subject of my book had lied to the press, or journalists had researched poorly their magazine and newsprint articles, or not at all. Sifting actual facts from a widespread panoply of published falsehoods circulated among articles, media interviews, and the chef himself, became the hardest part of the task!

My Virgin Interview

My first in-person interview was in the Philadelphia administrative office of Chef Georges Perrier, a contemporary of Chef Tell and one of the Top Five, premier French chefs in America. Perrier had agreed to 15 minutes only — not much time to request more than a simple, “Tell me, chef, what was important about Chef Tell?” If any more time would pass, I would wing it by following my instincts.

I had never conducted a live interview with anyone before. Working in international marketing sales (to support my writing aspirations) I had met and sold products and services to many top business executives in the financial and healthcare industries for over 18 years, but this would be my first live interview as an “Author.”

The questions I asked were never a part of my notes, and Perrier was a wonderful interview. He waxed on about his friendship with Tell as I wrote highlights on my pad of paper. My small recorder captured the actual phrases and nuanced details for later playback. I prodded infrequently and only to let Perrier loose. In the end, more than an hour had passed us by. We hugged, perhaps with a hint of tears in our eyes, because Perrier had not known that Janet Louise Nicoletti, Tell’s fiancee when the two chefs first met, had overdosed and died years earlier. Perrier’s summation of the woman said it all succinctly,
“Mon dieu, I did not know this. I knew this woman; she was simply tall, bright and beautiful.”

Later, having shelled out a twenty-dollar bill to retrieve my rented car from the union-run, Philly parking garage, I made a mental note to bring enough change to feed the street meters at future interview meetings. That evening I rewarded myself with an authentic Philly cheesesteak sandwich for making it through what I thought would be the worst of my gauntlet of interviews for this book.

Now I was proud that I had struck out on this course. Perrier, a man at the top of his profession — the same as Chef Tell — had confided to me two significant morsels:
Chef Tell was a giant of a man. I miss him. I loved him,” and “You know, maybe I’ll have you write my biography, because I like you. But, of course, it would be a very naughty book!”
(Perrier’s remark, though it made us both laugh, had served to break the ice between us early on and opened a more intimate repartee; it also gave me a reason to respond with,
“Georges, perhaps you should wait until you read my book; you may not think I can write well.”)

Each subsequent interview, each fork in the road, each turn, hill and valley on the path I took to find new information about whether I would love or hate the man who had been Chef Tell,moved me inexorably toward its own conclusion.

http://bit.ly/ChefsBiographyThe detailed story, sprinkled among never-before-released photos and Chef Tell recipes, is recorded in CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef, the 452-page book published by Skyhorse Publishing (NYC) and available online and in bookstores in hardback, eBook and AudioBook formats. Forewords are by Emmy-winning TV hosts Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib.
* * *

 “WOW is a great start! This is a wonderful account of one man’s voyage and how in so many ways every reader will connect with something.  It is engaging, and takes you through all the emotions of life, leaving you to decide what is next for you, and how you will make the most of your today – it’s a testament of the human spirit.”—Tracy Repchuk, #1 Amazon.com Best Selling Author and Top Woman Speaker in the World Online Business Strategy

* * *
Ronald Joseph Kule is an internationally published author/biographer/ghostwriter who writes non-fiction and fiction across several genres. Readers consider his work as five-star quality. Contact the author by emailing to KuleBooksLLC@gmail.com.
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The Best Key Lime Pie

The following is an article that was featured in my hometown’s gazette newsletter. I am adding it here because I love Key Lime Pie and because I would like to meet you in line at the restaurant, where we will all share pie!

 

Clearwater restaurant boasts best key lime pie — and can prove it

CLEARWATER — The best key lime pie in America can be found on Sunset Point Road, according to some folks who ought to know.

Zukie Tzekas, baker, cook and manager at the family-owned Sunset Grill, just east of Old Coachman Road, recently won the commercial division of the American Pie Council’s national championship.

“I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it,” Tzekas said.

She had only been baking pies for a little over a year at the restaurant, which she runs with her mother, father and sister. On a typical day, Tzekas, 47, bakes pies and cakes, cooks specials and manages the restaurant as part of what she calls her “seven days a week love affair.”

A self-described visual learner, Tzekas honed her pie skills watching YouTube videos. Once she mastered the technique, Tzekas experimented with new flavors and ingredients, a skill she has honed with more than 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

Tzekas entered the contest at the behest of her customers.

“I had my customers saying that these were the best pies they’d ever had,” Tzekas said. “They’ve traveled everywhere and had homemade pies but they really loved my pies.”

This praise led her to Google “pie contests” and to discover the APC national championships, held in Orlando.

Tzekas competed against companies like Publix and Village Inn, as well as professional pie companies.

The pies were laid out on a display table, where they were judged on appearance, consistency, flavor and other criteria.

A separate competition was held for each type of pie. Tzekas entered two pies, a coconut cream and a key lime. According to Tzekas, some of her competitors entered as many as 40 kinds.

For winning, Tzekas was awarded $200 and a plaque that is now displayed prominently near the entrance to the Sunset Grill.

Tzekas thinks her key lime pie stands out because of its crust, which is made from butter, graham crackers, vanilla wafer and an ingredient she wishes to remain a secret.

“It’s really creamy,” said Kayleigh White, 27, a regular at the restaurant. “A lot of key lime pies are super tart, but this one is just right.”

Business at her restaurant has picked up since Tzekas’ contest win, especially sales of key lime pie.

“I just feel good that finally in my life someone recognizes me,” Tzekas said. “I mean, they all recognize me from here anyway, but to win the nationals is amazing.”

Next year, Tzekas plans to enter more pies and expand to cake contests so she can show off her carrot cake, which she insists is amazing.

[Last modified: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 7:08pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

Cinco de Mayo Redux ~ Ode to our ‘Leader of the Band’

cinco-de-mayoWhen Cinco De Mayo hits us this year, our family will solemnly raise Margarita toasts in honor and memory of our Dad, whose broken heart and badly infected toe felled him one year ago to the day.

The infection was of diabetic origin. Heart/blood pressure circumstances complicated Dad’s situation and ruled out any surgery. The way he went out was an unworthy plot twist in the script of his illustrious lifetime: alone, in bed, early in the morning.

Dad’s heartbreak began years earlier, when our Mom — the love of his life — left us… a survivor and, ultimately, victim of a cantankerous cancer. Dad never expected to outlive his wife. (He had already outlived every one of his brothers and sisters and his parents.)

1944: Dad on the left, my future Mom, her Mom and her brother

Dad always felt he had “won the lottery” because he was able to marry a Chilean/Colombian debutante he’d met while assigned to Naval Intelligence, hydrographic department, duty with the Navy during WW II. At least, they made it past their Golden Wedding anniversary together.

The Lily Lake-loving youngster who later became our father — there are eight of us siblings — was born in a sleepy, coal-mining town, Glen Lyon, nestled among the Pocono mountains in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. He was the last in a long line of children born to Rose and John Sekulski — themselves offspring of parents who had emigrated from Poland and entered the USA through Ellis Island in New York.

LILY LAKE

Lily Lake, Bernie Kule’s boyhood haven for largemouth bass, yellow perch, chain pickerel, bullhead brown and rainbow trout, bluegill, pumpkinseed and northern pike fishing.

coal miners glen lyonThough some of his elder brothers worked deep underground in the coal mines, Dad never did. His respect, though, for the hazardous occupation with its fearful challenges within the mines and union-goaded struggles against management officials above ground, never waned in his 92 years of living.

Dad, we knew, wanted to own and run a farm operation. He had attended Rutgers College and earned his B. Scn. degree in animal husbandry. Later, for some years, he rented out a farmhouse and property in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. There, at least the first three of us lived on the farm, watching neighbors seed, grow and harvest crops as the seasons changed.

IMG_0073When more children arrived, the farm and farming no longer remained viable options. Necessity forced the family to re-locate to Levittown, Pennsylvania, where the majority of us kids grew up. Dad took on what would become a short string of sales jobs, albeit representing farm,food and plant-related product lines.

We never heard him complain. He did what he felt he had to do to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We were not rich in materiel, but we never went without, or so we thought as we grew up. All of us attended college — a feat that was among his most-cherished goals.

We like to think we turned out alright in the long run. Though we’re all a bit spread out geographically these days, there is little distance among us within our hearts and memories, which will forever include our Mom and Dad. And we like to think we all have quite a few years to go, because, as Dad always reminded us, “We come from ‘Good Stock’ people.”

So, this Cinco De Mayo we’ll celebrate our first-year anniversary of Dad’s passing with raised, salted glasses filled with a wondrous mixture of South-of-the-border ingredients, and only the best label stuff will do. Maybe a few tears will melt the salt rings, but we won’t mind our emotions: it means we’re still alive and kicking — all eight of us and our offspring!

After all, we have a mission to fulfill: we’re passing on Mom and Dad’s legacy to our children, their children and, one day, their children’s children.

A PAPÁ!

The Kule Eight Siblings

The Kule Eight Siblings

margaritasMargarita Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass.
  4. Pour contents, with ice, into the glass.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Alternative Margarita Recipe:

(Recipe source: http://cocktails.about.com/od/atozcocktailrecipes/r/marg_cktl.htm)

Okay, Dan Fogelberg, you can come in and sing now: “The Leader of the Band.”

 © 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

Wanted: The New Kid in Town

(My company, Research Target Group, is a business development arm for On-Target Research. The following is a guest blog from its Founder, Bruce Wiseman.) — Ronald Joseph Kule

Brand Positioning Creates Want

“There is a new position in town.

“But it has a back story.

“I live in a little community called Toluca Lake. It is adjacent to Burbank and surrounded by the entertainment industry.

“Many artists live here as have others before them. Bob Hope’s home (now for sale) is a block and a half down the street. Frank Sinatra, W.C. Fields and Bing Crosby had homes here. So did Emilia Earhart. Ronald and Nancy Reagan had their wedding reception here at friend William Holden’s place.

“A number of today’s entertainers followed suit. Miley Cyrus is a few blocks away. Denzel moved but Jack Black, Andy Garcia, Hillary Duff, Zac Efron and lots of others hang here.

“It’s no surprise because you can throw a rock and hit Warner Brothers studios. Universal is up on the hill, Disney is just down the street. NBC is here as well, though, sadly, The Tonight Show has moved to New York.

“But, Leno still drives his exotic cars along the back streets of town.
jay leno in car
“The main drag running through Toluca Lake is Riverside Drive.

“At the East end of this little community of creativity is what is probably the most famous single burger joint in the country – Bob’s Big Boy.

“Built in 1949, and named after the first double-patty burger, Bob’s still has car-hops on weekends and every Friday afternoon and evening their parking lot fills with classic cars – everything from ’55 Chevys to 32 deuce coupes.

Bob's Big Boy

“The place looks like the parking lot of my old high school.

“The Beatles had burgers there in ’65. Really.

“Starbucks is right next to Bob’s – so close that when I’m in there enjoying some soft scrambled eggs topped with parmesan cheese at 3 am writing one of these articles, I can pick up the wi-fi signal from next door.

“But Bob’s Big Boy isn’t the story here. Neither is Starbucks.

RAWkin Juice Vibrations

Adjacent to Starbucks is the new kid in town. It’s called RAWkin Juice (www.rawkinjuice.com)

rawkin juice “I drove by it a few times after it opened. There is a Robeks two blocks down Riverside, and my first thought was how does a new stand-alone juice boutique compete with a national brand like Robeks. I was curious and finally went in.

“Once inside, the difference was obvious: everything is raw and organic. There is a long juice bar, where you can sit. They have a very focused offering: organic fruit and vegetable juices, smoothies, salads…and desserts.

“For one thing, Robeks fruits and veggies are not organic, a big deal for those of the health conscious crowd – about 90% of the inhabitants of La-La land.

“But that is not the point of the article. The point is the clever positioning RAWkin Juice uses for the brand. Remember, positioning ties your product or service to something already in the mind.

“RAWkin Juice ties their products to music – the ‘Good Vibrations’ one gets from organic juices and smoothies tie to the good vibrations of music.

“They have a positioning image of a guitar (made of fruits and vegetables).

rawkin guitar

“And look how cleverly their copy forwards their position.

“‘Vibrations of Life
Tune up your system

Live, organic, farm-fresh raw vegetables and fruits have natural vibrational frequencies. They can be destroyed by heat, speed or hard processes. RAWkin’ Juice protects and preserves the source of plant energy transferring its fresh vibrations to you.’

“And

“‘RAWkin’ Juice is…
like music for your body, mind and spirit
.
When you listen to music, vibrations enter your ear and go into your brain. The frequency of music affects how you feel. Fresh, raw plants also produce vibrations that resonate with your internal system.’

“And

“‘We make “music” for your mouth.’

MENU VIBRATIONS

“Their menu, titled ‘Fresh Vibrations’, and all of the menu items, have funky names tied to music. Take a look. (You have to go to the main site www.rawkinjuice.com and then click the “menu” icon.)

“And of course Rawkin is a very clever play on ‘Rockin’.

“I talked to one of the partners when I went in. He said they had been inundated with business from the studios. No surprise. Filming – TV or movies – requires long, demanding hours. These drinks have a seriously healthy kick to them.

“I had a ‘Hemp Notes’ – hemp seeds, mango, banana, kale, parsley, dates, spirulina, chorella, spring water – and wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day.

“The owners are intending to open 10 of these around LA. Properly managed, they will find stunning success; they have a first-class product and a great brand riding on a clever position.

“How about you? Does your brand/position have good vibrations?

“If not, we can help you create one.

“After all, positioning creates ‘want’ for products, and drives sales.”

###

ON-TARGET RESEARCH SUCCESS

“(Before On-Target Research)… I was only seeing 40 to 50 new patients a month. After On-Target… we have averaged over 100 new patients a month, with a high of 132! (With a 50% rise in income).” — M. B, D.D.S.

Interested? Call us.

Ronald Joseph Kule

Research Target Group

(727) 215-2125

researchtargetgroup@gmail.com

 

© 2014 by Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

 

Master Chef Recipes to Cook at Home – Biography eBook and DVD offer

Each Christmas season, like most chefs, Chef Tell worked his a** off. However, after the holiday was done, every year, he went out and bought all of the newest cookbooks in bookstores and online… and proceeded to study them to stay up with the latest technologies and trends. Additionally, he studied culinary reference books from libraries to sharpen his skills constantly. Thus, Chef Tell became an “overnight success” in America: the most popular TV chef of his time with a fan base of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers — about eight times larger than Julia Child’s. According to TV host Regis Philbin, “Chef Tell started all this television madness about chefs.” Iron Chef Cat Cora wrote, “Chef Tell was a man of great humor and incredible skills in the kitchen. He brought wonderful food to the table as well as love and laughter. The author did an impeccable job bringing to life Chef’s humor and passion for food.” The Philadelphia Inquirer  food writer, Elaine Tait, wrote, “Chef Tell is America’s Paul Bocuse, and the only TV chef whose food always tastes good.” To know more about this German-American iconic personality, and his fascinating life story of overcoming one obstacle after another, go to any online site and pick up a copy of his biography in either hard copy, eBook or audiobook format. Here are some links for those: http://bit.ly/168KfX8 for the audiobook http://bit.ly/156n6oQ for Barnes & Noble hard copies http://amzn.to/15MSoAV for amazon eBook CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef by Ronald Joseph Kule, forewords by Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib, is 452 pages with 70 photos and seven NEW recipes, and contains a DVD offer for home cooks to watch Chef Tell teach cooking different cuisine dishes right on your TV, computer or media player. FOR AUTHOR-SIGNED COPIES OF THE HARD-COPY BOOK go to the author’s website.

© 2013 by KuleBooks LLC and Ronald Joseph Kule. All Rights Reserved.

 

5-Star Book: CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef

English: Cat Cora in April 2010.

English: Cat Cora in April 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each Christmas season, like most chefs, Chef Tell worked his a** off. However, after the holiday was done, every year, he went out and bought all of the newest cookbooks in bookstores and online… and proceeded to study them to stay up with the latest technologies and trends. Additionally, he studied culinary reference books from libraries to sharpen his skills constantly.

Thus, Chef Tell became an “overnight success” in America: the most popular TV chef of his time with a fan base of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers — about eight times larger than Julia Child’s. According to TV host Regis Philbin, “Chef Tell started all this television madness about chefs.”

Iron Chef Cat Cora wrote, “Chef Tell was a man of great humor and incredible skills in the kitchen. He brought wonderful food to the table as well as love and laughter. The author did an impeccable job bringing to life Chef’s humor and passion for food.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer food writer, Elaine Tait, wrote, “Chef Tell is America’s Paul Bocuse, and the only TV chef whose food always tastes good.”

To know more about this German-American iconic personality, and his fascinating life story of overcoming one obstacle after another, go to any online site and pick up a copy of his biography in either hard copy, eBook or audiobook format. Here are some links for those:
http://bit.ly/168KfX8 for the audiobook
http://bit.ly/156n6oQ for Barnes & Noble hard copies
http://amzn.to/15MSoAV for amazon eBook

CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef by Ronald Joseph Kule, forewords by Regis Philbin and Chef Walter Staib, is 452 pages with 70 photos and seven NEW recipes, and contains a DVD offer for home cooks to watch Chef Tell teach cooking different cuisine dishes right on your TV, computer or media player. It is a timeless book of life lessons to cherish for generations.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/prompt-number-one/

© 2013 by KuleBooks LLC and Ronald Joseph Kule. all Rights Reserved.

Chef Tell – Master Chef and Baby Boomers’ Hero

“Author Ronald Joseph Kule’s excellence can be felt in the pulse that beats from within the pages. His work about the late Chef Tell is going to stir more than just a few kitchen pots. I stood back in amazement as Ron took a complex, infuriating, yet ultimately appealing character, and produced one superbly crafted work of literature.” — J. David Miller, Award-winning Author/Sports Journalist/Hall of Fame head coach, AAA Semi-pro champion SoCal Coyotes
In 1976, Friedemann Paul Erhardt — “Chef Tell” — became America’s pioneer TV showman chef.  Within weeks of winning the audition, he appeared on-air in 30 cities. Within months, 40,000,000 avid Baby Boomer fans in 114 cities—comparable to the fan base of Julia Child—tuned in to Evening Magazine or PM Magazine to watch his 90-second, cooking segments, three times weekly. Personal appearances on The Mike Douglas ShowThe Dinah Shore Show; The Merv Griffin Show, The Jon Davidson Show, and live cooking demonstrations in shopping malls and convention centers, added fuel to the German-American chef’s prairie fire that swept the nation.

No one had ever seen anyone like him: Chef Tell cooked fast, entertained, taught cooking, and made America feel confident enough to try cooking his way, signing off with, “I SEE YOU!” 

 
Chef Tell was the author’s brother-in-law. The hard-cover book, 452 pages, 70 photos, NEW CHEF TELL RECIPES, is available now at the store and makes a great holiday gift. The author will sign your copies.
Author-signed copies available at ronkulebooks.com