Did you know that the Galloping Gourmet, aka, Graham Kerr, is still around? I ran onto that bit of trivia while reading a piece on aging celebrates. At 84, Graham looks great! I’m going to print out his photo and put it on my refrigerator door for inspiration. Not only has he stood the test of time, the witty, British-born celebrity chef just re-published his 1969 cookbook.
A Wild Leap into the Kitchen
Long before there was a Food Channel, Graham Kerr and Julia Child entertained us by combining cooking with merrimaking. Kerr was especially wild and energetic. At the beginning of each live broadcast, he’d bound into the studio and leap over a chair while holding a glass of wine (carefully covered with plastic wrap).
His shows were sandwiched between the morning soap operas, during a time when I was the busiest. With four children to see after, it meant I was doing some “leaping” myself, trying to navigate scattered toys and mounds of unfolded diapers (we had washable, cloth ones back then).
Kerr’s dishes were rich in fats, clarified butter, and sugar but very few vegetables. Viewers loved him all the more for his extravagance. But some contemporaries chefs, such as James Beard and Craig Claiborne, frowned on his kitchen shenanigans. That didn’t deter the saucy showman, who made 28 trips around the world to find recipes, that might be fun to cook and share.
The Show’s Sad Ending
The Galloping Gourmet show lasted three years, (1969-1971) ending when he and his wife, Treena, (the show’s producer) were in an auto accident, rear-ended by—can you believe it—a vegetable truck!
During their long recovery, the couple found solace in religion and a healthier diet. They built a 71′ boat and sailed around the world. Since his wife’s death in 2015, Kerr has lived with his daughter and son-in-law just outside Seattle. His cooking habits have swung from indulgent to austere. He once fumed about nitrites, French sauces, and the trend towards fast-food supersizing. More recently his culinary pendulum has swung back toward moderation, though he still advocated just 2-ounces of meat for a meal.
Welcome back to the kitchen, Graham. You may not be galloping anymore, but you’re still a great gourmet.
Entertaining Advice from the Galloping Gourmet
“Nuts are not the best greeting. Hosts who provide nuts, potato chips, and olives before dinner announce to the world their total indifference. Appetizers must be very small, not over-garnished, always bite-size and easy to handle.”