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Actor Learns to Cook Like James Beard for Role

OPB | Jan. 17, 2013 7:15 a.m. | Updated: March 20, 2013 8:31 a.m.

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The play I Love to Eat, which is in performance through February 3, 2013 at Portland Center Stage, explores the life of Oregon native James Beard.

Beard was an internationally famous chef who was known for his recipes calling for fresh, local ingredients, as well as his flamboyant outfits and large personality. He has been called “the dean of American cookery,” and these days, the James Beard Award is one of the highest honors a chef can receive.

However, the role of James Beard poses one unusual challenge for an actor – needing to chop onions and prepare food onstage. For Rob Nagle, preparing for his starring role meant getting hands-on with knives and chopping boards. He jokes that his wife only lets him clean up in the kitchen, so this was uncharted territory for him. To help, James Beard Award-winning chef Greg Higgins spent an afternoon showing Rob the ropes. Oregon Art Beat caught up with them as the lesson was just getting started, as you can see in the video above.

Go See It!

  • I Love to Eat at Portland Center Stage
  • Through February 3, 2013
  • Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland
  • Visit PCS website


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