New World Order: Chefs vs Owners in 70’s/80’s L.A.
On the heels of the release of his new book Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits, and Wanderers Created a New American Profession (Ecco), author Andrew Friedman describes the power shift that transformed the restaurant industry in the United States in the 1970s and early 1980s, focusing on a few Los Angeles-area restaurants, characters, and relationships that epitomize the change. The arc of Wolfgang Puck, from unheralded savior of a struggling Ma Maison to chef-proprietor (with ex-wife Barbara Lazaroff) of the red-hot Spago sets the tone for this exploration of the rise of chefs in American culture. Friedman also examines Michael McCarty’s early days of Michael’s Santa Monica, and looks at a few chefs who went into business for themselves, including Bruce Marder and the team of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger. He also covers the role of nouvelle cuisine and the aspirational example set by French chefs in this transformation and the elevation of chefs to media personalities, moguls, and brands in their own right.
Andrew Friedman has chronicled the life and work of some of our best American chefs. He is the author of Knives at Dawn: America’s Quest for Culinary Glory at the Bocuse d’Or, the World’s Most Prestigious Cooking Competition and co-editor of the internationally popular anthology Don’t Try This at Home. He has also coauthored more than two dozen cookbooks and memoirs with chefs including Alfred Portale, Paul Liebrandt, and Michael White, and collaborated on the New York Times bestselling memoir Breaking Back with tennis star James Blake. Friedman writes about chefs on his Toqueland blog and interviews them on his Heritage Radio Network podcast Andrew Talks to Chefs. He lives in New York.