Friedman Paul Erhardt, the ebullient German-born cook known as “Chef Tell” who was one of Philadelphia’s – and America’s – first- and best-known television chefs, died of heart failure Friday at his home in Upper Black Eddy, Bucks County.
The mustachioed Mr. Erhardt, who was 63, was a colorful fixture on the local dining scene in the ’70s and ’80s, when he owned restaurants in Chestnut Hill, Wayne, Ottsville, and Upper Black Eddy. He was also a culinary educator, cookbook author, and spokesman for major cookware and food product lines.
But it was his persona as the jolly chef with an impenetrable German accent, sharp knifework, cutting wit and easy recipes that made him an indelible fixture of TV pop culture, from regular appearances on Regis and Kathie Lee to comedy spots on Saturday Night Live. He was also the inspiration for the Muppet Show’s gibberish-spouting Swedish chef.
‘Chef Tell’ Erhardt, 63, early TV chef [Philadelphia Inquirer]