Sad news for longtime Philadelphians — TV food show host, Swedish Chef inspiration and ex-restarateur Friedman Paul Erhardt, aka “Chef Tell”, died at 63 of a heart attack:
Chef Tell wasn’t about to stay in any kitchen. He was out there with his big smile and his Teutonic-tinged accent that some found almost unintelligible.
He was born in Stuttgart and dropped out of school at 14 to learn cooking under a strict European apprenticeship program. (He got his nickname “Tell” after playing William Tell in a school production.) In no time, he was winning gold medals for his cooking, and earned a master’s degree in cooking from the University of Heidelberg in 1970. He was named West Germany’s Chef of the Year before he met Nicoletti. (She was the second of his three wives.) As the chef at the Marriott, he made his first TV appearance on the locally produced “Dialing for Dollars.” After that, he appeared on KYW’s “Evening Magazine,” “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” specials for the QVC network in West Chester and the PBS program, “In the Kitchen with Chef Tell.” He liked to tool around town on a motorcycle and eventually was hobnobbing with the rich and famous. His citizenship application was personally submitted by Richard Nixon in 1984. He gained national exposure with appearances on such shows as “Regis and Kathie Lee” and comedy skits on “Saturday Night Live.” He was also said to be the inspiration for the Swedish chef on “The Muppet Show.”
Friedman Paul Erhardt, ‘Chef Tell,’ dies at 63 [Daily News]
[Image via Daily News]