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The PBS broadcast was a smashing success! Over 500,000 people watched the film and we couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks again for your support and patience.
The PBS broadcast was a smashing success! Over 500,000 people watched the film and we couldn't have done it without all of you. Thanks again for your support and patience.
507 backers pledged $29,538 to help bring this project to life.

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America's First Foodie: The Incredible Life of James Beard

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“America’s First Foodie” is a feature length documentary chronicling  a century of food through the life of one man, James Beard. Beard, dubbed by the New York Times as the “Dean of American Cookery,” was a Portland native who loved and regaled the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. He spoke of the importance of localism and sustainability long before those terms had entered the vernacular. At a time of “all things French,” Beard appreciated what America had to bring to the table. That tradition continues today and is embodied via modern culinary masters. A cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity and teacher, James Beard helped to pioneer and expand the food media industry into the billion-dollar business it is today.

Since Beard’s death in 1985, the James Beard Foundation and House have continued his mission. The foundation is at the center of America’s culinary community and is dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives. The James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program helps aspiring culinary students realize their dreams by supporting them on a path to success. The Beard name has become synonymous with culinary excellence and each year thousands gather in New York City for the James Beard Foundation Awards. Often referred to as the Academy Awards of food, the annual gala has become the gastronomic highlight of the year. However, while the name is well recognized, the incredible details of Beard’s life are often unknown. We hope that this film will help preserve his story for generations to come.

With vivacious food and travel writer Kathleen Squires as our guide, we speak to the veritable who’s who of the food world to share memories and to explore Beard’s influence on the modern culinary scene. The film follows  two Portland chefs, Cathy Whims and Naomi Pomeroy, as they make their way to the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards in New York City while simultaneously exploring the incredible life of Beard himself.  The film will explore the big themes of Beard’s life as well as the food world itself through menu-like chapters. These will include his relationship with his mother (the true first foodie), his love of the market, his brave choice to be openly gay at a time when it was dangerous to do so and his devotion to flavor and friends.

Through a recorded and printed oral history crafted by Beard himself, archival footage and interviews, we will weave the history of American cooking and gastronomy with the story of its Founding Father and will explore how the food world has evolved since his death. We will visit the places he loved including his childhood home of Portland, the restaurants of San Francisco that he frequented with his mother, great public markets like Pike Place Market in Seattle and of course his second and final home, New York City. “America’s First Foodie” will conclude with the reveal of  the 2014 Beard Award winner from the Pacific Northwest and a final dinner on the beach at his beloved Gearhart at the Oregon coast. By marrying current footage with archival footage, interviews and recreations, we hope to create a film that truly captures the color, spirit and genius that was James Beard.

Risks and challenges

Making a film is a difficult tasks that can sometimes have a few hiccups. America's First Foodie is well into production and we are confident in our ability to finish the film in a timely fashion.

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    THE FILM: Digital Download of America's First Foodie

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    THE DVD: America's First Foodie DVD plus digital download

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    PICK 1: Get the DVD and digital download, plus PICK 1 of the following James Beard(ed) items: DISH TOWEL, APRON or MARKET BAG!

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    Ticket to the Portland Premiere and Limited Reception of America's First Foodie at the Hollywood Theater. Plus the DVD and digital download,

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    PICK 2: Get the DVD and digital download, plus PICK 2 of the following James Beard(ed) items: DISH TOWEL, APRON or MARKET BAG!

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    PICK 3: Get the DVD and digital download, plus PICK 3 of the following James Beard(ed) items: DISH TOWEL, APRON and/or MARKET BAG!

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    THE COOLHAUS ICE CREAM BOOK signed by authors, plus the "America's First Foodie" digital download and the DVD.

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    IN MY KITCHEN:100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks signed by author TED ALLEN. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    Signed cookbook of Fried & True by Lee Schrager and Adeena Sussman. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    Get a signed copy of Sara Moulton's cookbook "Sara Moulton Cooks at Home" plus the DVD and digital download,

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    Get a copy of MARC FORGIONE: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant AUTOGRAPHED BY THE IRON CHEF HIMSELF! PLUS the DVD and digital download,

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    Signed erotic novel, “Doctor Love,” by Gael Greene

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    Signed book: “Insatiable: Tales From a Life of Delicious Excess” by Gael Greene

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    CREDITS: Get the DVD and digital download, plus YOUR NAME IN THE ROLLING CREDITS OF THE FILM!

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    FRAMED PHOTO: Get the DVD and digital download, plus a limited-edition FRAMED JAMES BEARD PHOTOGRAPH!

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    Own of one of James Beard's personal monogrammed shirts! If shirt's could talk! Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    4 seats to a very special event in NYC: Fried Chicken & Ice Cream Sandwich Dinner with recipes from Fried & True by Lee Schrager and Adeena Sussman and The Coolhaus Ice Cream Book by Natasha Case, Freya Estreller and Kathleen Squires. Enjoy dinner with authors Sussman and Squires! Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD. (Travel and lodging not included)

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    2 passes to Feast Portland 2015. The "Package"includes: Four days of feasting at the Pacific Northwest's most renown food festival with two package passes that allow entrance to all of the "main events" at Feast Portland. Event dates are September 17-20, 2015.

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    SPONSOR: Get the DVD and digital download, plus YOUR NAME (and logo) PRESENTED AS A SPONSOR AT THE END OF THE FILM!

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    Dinner for two at MOTHER'S BISTRO in PORTLAND OREGON. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    Signed book My Last Dinner by photo journalist Melanie Dunea. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    Copy of POK POK: FOOD AND STORIES FROM THE STREETS, HOMES AND ROADSIDE RESTAURANTS OF THAILAND signed by Chef Andy Ricker. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    “The Vegetarian Flavor Bible,” signed by two-time James Beard Award winners Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Plus the DVD and digital download,

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    A copy of Chef Gabriel Rucker's book "Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird" autographed by the author. PLUS a Le Pigeon t-shirt PLUS the DVD and digital download.

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    Dinner for two at Portland's one and only Ned Ludd restaurant. Chef Jason French was a James Beard Foundation scholarship winner and a big fan of James Beard. Plus the DVD and digital download,

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    MARTHA STEWART: Get the DVD and digital download, plus a high quality America's First Foodie poster SIGNED by the one and only Martha Stewart. JUST ONE POSTER AVAILABLE!

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    TED ALLEN: Get the DVD and digital download, plus a high quality America's First Foodie poster SIGNED by CHOPPED HOST TED ALLEN. JUST ONE POSTER AVAILABLE!

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    ALICE WATERS: Get the DVD and digital download, plus a high quality America's First Foodie poster SIGNED by the one and only ALICE WATERS!

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    Get an artfully framed Nicole Miller "James Beard" tie. Created with Jim Beard's joyful spirit in mind, this original design is a one of a kind! Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD.

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    ALICE WATERS PACKAGE: Get the AUTOGRAPHED two book set. The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution AND The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden. PLUS a high quality America's First Foodie poster SIGNED by the one and only ALICE WATERS. PLUS the DVD and digital download.

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    BOULUD SUD: Get the DVD and digital download, plus DINNER FOR 4 AT BOULUD SUD, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud's Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in MANHATTAN. Boulud Sud features flavors that travel the entire Mediterranean region from the shores of Southern France to the coast of North Africa and beyond.

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    Dinner for Two at the James Beard Foundation in NYC. Plus "America's First Foodie" digital download and DVD. (Travel and lodging not included)

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    IRON CHEF MARC FORGIONE: Enjoy the tasting menu for 2 guests with pairings at RESTAURANT MARC FORGIONE. PLUS the DVD and digital download.

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    PERSONAL DINNER PARTY: Get the DVD and digital download, plus DINNER FOR 10 prepared by award-winning CHEF JOHN NEWMAN John Newman of Cannon Beach Oregon!

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Funding period

- (30 days)