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. 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.
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 “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 Best Selling Author and Top Woman Speaker in the World Online Business Strategy

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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

Energy Drinks, Nutritional Products and Residual Income

Energy Drinks, Nutritional Products and Residual Income

The Tree of Life

At a time when we were practically broke and we had to find some new work, we found a fairly new company that looked like a good opportunity for us.  We would have to bootstrap our way back up the ladder of success, because we had just lost our jobs in 2009.  After 18 years at Number One in Sales, we had been canned without warning… with an email!

We had no choice but to start and work hard — that, or starve.

We were, however, excited, too.  We liked the new work and liked that we could help others in our situation.  Our team became like a family.

We were all getting a bit healthier, too, because our products were nutritionals that not only tasted good, they were packed with healthy ingredients and added value.

We are still with the company in 2015.  Their name means “Tree of Life;” in Brazilian Portuguese that’s “Mona Vie.”

Mona Vie’s larger family of independent distributors produced sales in excess of one billion dollars in record time, less than five years from start-up.  The reasons were the products worked, tasted good, had excellent testing behind them, and the compensation plan was attractive.  Today, Mona Vie is a worldwide success story that we’re proud to remain an active part of.

Your Opportunity

At one time we were broke but not broken…first selfie!

  • If you’re looking for healthy alternatives to food supplies in stores…
  • if you want a better energy pick-me-up than highly sprayed, contaminated coffees and teas…
  • if you want to manage your weight and fitness naturally…
  • if you are looking and open to an extra income opportunity in which you set your own goals and hours…

… we would be happy to help you learn more about the “tree of life” lifeline that we discovered when we needed to find one.

We haven’t made a fortune with what we do part-time with MonaVie, but we feel fortunate that we can assist our own health and that we can help others with nutritional products and an opportunity that we understand and believe in.

If you just want healthy products for you and your family, we have products.

If you have work or income questions, we have some answers and help to give.

All you have to do is reach out, just like we did back in 2009, when we were practically broke.

Master Chef’s Life Recipe

CHEF TELL The Biography of America’s Pioneer TV Showman Chef shows us not only the perfect personality for TV cooking appearances in front of 40,000,000 Baby Boomers, but also the quick-witted perfectionist who demanded only the freshest ingredients for food, fortune, fame and women. An absorbing account of an extraordinary man, CHEF TELL surprises and horrifies with its emotional and intellectual tugs-of-war, which reveal the personal and professional highs, lows and glorious successes of Philadelphia magazine’s “affably roguish Bad Boy of the Philadelphia restaurant world,” explaining why so many loved or hated Chef Tell then but today miss him dearly.

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

New Book Available Now


The Neutral Zone

In this year of political campaigning and discourse one wonders if there is anywhere to hide out from all the hoopla of the Presidential election cycle. Is there a neutral zone away from left-leaning and right-leaning pundits?

The answer is that there is: the commercial kitchen. The milieu of the kitchen is about preparing food and presentation of plates before hungry, expectant customers. In the kitchen there is no taking sides on either side of the aisle like in Congress. There is only taking sides on either side of the line — behind the line you’re in the kitchen, ahead of it you’re part of the front room — the line, of course, being the counter where prepared plates are picked up by wait-staff members for delivery to diners.

When Chef Tell Erhardt stepped past the line and entered the front room to make conversations with his fans at their tables he wore the Executive Chef hat, which encompassed all of the responsibilities of running a proper restaurant establishment, including ensuring that the end-consumer of his products and services were satisfied and happy with their dining experiences.
He talked with them and drank with them, told them jokes and entertained, but he never took sides in political debates or repartee. Chef Tell was a representative of “The Neutral Zone.” His Neutral Zone was apolitical. He served Democrats and Republicans equally — and would serve Tea Party, Libertarians and Independent adherents today, if he were still with us, because food, although here and there bandied about like a political football, is apolitical.

Chef Tell delivered more than what was expected of him by reason of his unique and irrepressible personality and skills in the kitchen and on television where he was a “Rock-star Chef.” Beyond the tube, people sought his company in his famed restaurants. He was able to trade communications with kings, queens, politicians, white- and blue-collar wage-earners and children with equal aplomb. For that, he was rewarded with a rich and famous lifestyle, despite many 20-hour workdays, six days a week for several decades.

Chef Tell’s lifetime — told in the forthcoming biography — of struggles and triumphs fascinates and provokes thought. It makes one believe there is no goal one cannot attain.

Soon the world will know the details and will be able to applaud Chef Tell’s many contributions to the worlds of entertainment and food. His place as the pioneer of that popular breed of chefs known today as the “TV Showman Chef” — of which he was the first — will be assured and acknowledged as an important part of the legacy of the great chefs of the Neutral Zone, that safe harbor from the din of political opinion.

For more information about the Chef Tell biography, and to be among the first to know about its release, visit the Facebook page and click on the LIKE button at

Working for Others

Tim Mushey on his blog Sell, Lead, Succeed! recently wrote that working with the benefits of others in mind, rather than self-interests, is the best way to succeed.  The notion caused me to remember my after-school job in my high school days.

I worked in a Howard Johnson restaurant — the kind with the 21-seat counter to your right when you walked in the front door and regular tables with booths and chairs to your left.   I manned the counter area, which was also where the ice-creams and related items were stored for making desserts for the famous brand.  (At HoJo’s you entered hungry for either their touted fried clams or their famous ice-cream flavors and desserts.)

The waitresses (known then by that term, not wait-staff), who served customers on the table side, despised getting dirty making the sticky ice-cream requests from their customers, but I loved creating the delectations.  We struck a deal: I would make their desserts, saving them time and messy cleanups, and they would share tips with me!

By helping those women arguably more FUN — my operative word then — came my way, AND I earned more money than they took home.  You see, in addition to making desserts I serviced the entire 21-seat counter alone.  The complimentary comments from my customers, who had front-row seats to watch me fill not only their dinner and their ice-cream orders, but also those of my waitress “customers,” were the highlight of my nights on the job.  More than once, I received standing ovations for juggling food orders and piling on the whipped cream and cherries for the satisfied ladies!

My “performances” filled my tip jar, but seeing satisfied customers depart happy made my nights at HoJo’s memories to never forget.

Chef Tell Erhardt, America’s pioneer TV showman chef

He was America’s pioneer TV showman chef. His audience was eight times larger than Julia Child. He was a best-selling author — one of his recipe books sold over 230,000 copies in 1982.  He cooked for kings, queens, politicians, TV and movie celebrities, and taught millions how to cook at home.

Chef Tell was funny and informative at the same time.  He was Regis Philbin’s favorite TV chef guest.  At the peak of his TV career, Tell had 40,000,000 fans watching his TV segments three times a week, and affiliate stations received as many as 20,000 requests PER WEEK for his recipes in the 1970s.

He drew massive crowds to convention centers, who watched his live food preparation and cooking demonstrations.

Tell loved dogs, fast cars, women, motorcycles and children.

Chef Tell was one of a kind, ahead of his time and a trail-blazer.  TV chefs of today owe him a tip of their toques (tall white hats) for creating a new brand: the TV showman chef.

©Ron Kule, 2012. All Rights Reserved.  Any copies, reproductions or unauthorized use of these contents, in whole or in part, without express written permission of the copyright owner is prohibited and is a violation of all applicable copyright laws.  Permission to copy or use the materials may be obtained through

Chef Tell Erhardt Biography

‎”Chef Tell was a gifted, caring entertainer, who could perform like the best of artists. And, like the best of the best, he gave us encores — enough to keep us happy but never so many that we didn’t end up wanting more …” excerpted from the forthcoming biography written by Ronald Joseph Kule, targeted for a 2013 release.

©Ron Kule, 2012. All Rights Reserved.  Any copies, reproductions or unauthorized use of these contents, in whole or in part, without express written permission of the copyright owner is prohibited and is a violation of all applicable copyright laws.  Permission to copy or use the materials may be obtained through