Skip to content

Directed by Beth Federici

Oregon 2017 60 mins. In English

James Beard (1903-1985), dubbed the “Dean of American Cookery” by The New York Times, was a Portland native who loved and celebrated 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 when “all things French,” was the standard, Beard appreciated what America had to bring to the table and was the first chef to go on television to teach not only women, but men, how to cook. A cookbook author, journalist, television celebrity, and teacher, Beard helped to pioneer and expand the food media industry into the billion-dollar business it is today. Portland filmmaker Beth Federici draws on a wealth of film clips, photographs, and interviews with some of todays top chefs to fashion a fitting celebration of a pioneering and larger than life cultural force. Join us after the film– which just happens to be on Beard’s birthday–for a Q&A and reception with Federici.

Read a conversation with Director Beth Federici about James Beard and the film.

Frank Bruni mentions America’s First Foodie in his NY Times Article Food, Sex and Silence

Genres: Documentary



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.