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James Beard in 1973. (Linda Wheeler/The Washington Post). These days, the name James Beard is inextricably tied to the foundation that bears his name — and to the prestigious chef, restaurant and media awards it grants every spring. But long before a medal was hung around the first winner’s neck, Beard, who died in 1985 at age 81, was a hugely influential culinary figure. A Portland, Ore., native, he celebrated farm-to-table cooking decades before the term became so ubiquitous as to practically lose all meaning. He hosted a nationally televised cooking show in 1946 — almost 20 years before Julia Child, who would become a great friend, starred in “The French Chef.” He wrote almost two... Full story

19 May