Last Call: In Praise Of Graham Kerr, Cooking TV's Original Wild Man

You might notice here at The Takeout we don't spend a lot of time writing about the celebrity chefs-du-jour. Frankly, it's hard to keep up. But our staff does have a fondness of the O.G. television chefs, pioneers like Mary Berry, Martin Yan, Jacques Pepin—they're the personalities who got us interested about food in the first place.

In that spirit, let's give a tip of the cap to Graham Kerr. He was the first chef I remembered seeing on television growing up in Seattle, where Kerr's show was produced. By the early 90s Kerr was already past his Galloping Gourmet persona, instead, evangelizing healthy eating through a segment at the end of his shows called Minimax. Kerr would sit in front of a large board with the nutritional info of a classic dish, then he'd write down the lower fat and calorie count of his version, and this part of the show had all the televised drama of watching an actuary—and I found it wholly charming.

Until recently, I never actually watched The Galloping Gourmet, the cooking show he starred in from 1969-1971. I don't recognize this version of Kerr one bit; it's like he had a rocket strapped to his backside. Watch him sprint across the studio, jump over chairs, ham it up with the camera guy, scrunch his face and speak in silly accents. The interaction with the studio audience made the show lively—you can tell watching Kerr where Emeril Lagasse found his inspiration. Here are a few classic episodes of The Galloping Gourmet, as well as a cooking segment of Kerr on Late Night with David Letterman from 1992.