Jeremiah Tower appointed Patron of The Oxford Cultural Collective
5th January 2018
Jeremiah Tower, widely regarded as the father of modern American cuisine, has been appointed a Patron of The Oxford Cultural Collective. He joins other gastronomic luminaries, including Madhur Jaffrey, Ken Hom, Jessica Harris, Geraldene Holt, Michael Caines and Jeremy Lee, in this international cultural organisation dedicated to promoting better understanding of food and drink.
In October 2016 The Oxford Cultural Collective hosted the UK premiere of The Last Magnificent, the film produced by Anthony Bourdain that explores Tower’s remarkable life and his role as one of the most controversial and influential figures in the history of modern American gastronomy. He has gone on to contribute to the Collective’s events at the Blenheim Palace Festival and Literature, Film and Music, and the FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival. During his last visit to the UK the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme broadcast an edition dedicated to Jeremiah’s extraordinary career (Follow this link to listen the listen to the show).
On his appointment Jeremiah commented: “I thought attending the last two years of the Oxford Literary Festival was the apogee of events that bring together the world’s best talents in writing, food and wine, but now there is the Oxford Cultural Collective than can take this to another level. Uniquely structured to achieve more than the best of corporate and philanthropic foundations, this Collective is an action group that brings together the world’s best culinary minds, as well those emerging from the ranks of European, Asian, and American universities. I can’t wait work with the team and develop new projects as well.”
Jeremiah Tower’s unique and privileged childhood, in which fine dining, first class travel and lengthy stays in five-star hotels were the norm, fuelled a life-long love affair with food and shaped his hospitality career. His quest as a chef and restaurateur was to deliver food and service of ground-breaking style and unsurpassed quality. Whilst his seemingly charmed early years were also marked by stark emotional isolation from his parents (“The worst thing that happened to me was that I wasn’t an orphan”, he comments in The Last Magnificent), he makes no claims to lasting psychological damage.
Jeremiah began his culinary career in 1972 at the acclaimed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, from where he became a key player in the emerging Californian cuisine movement. After moving on from Chez Panisse (and escaping his famously tempestuous relationship with Alice Waters), he launched Stars in San Francisco, which was an immediate success. With a clientele that included Liza Minnelli, Rudolph Nureyev, Luciano Pavarotti and Joe Di Maggio, Stars was firmly established as the ‘go to’ destination for the leading cultural figures of the age, and Jeremiah secured his position as America’s first ‘celebrity chef’.
After building his restaurant empire to include sites in Hong Kong and Singapore, Jeremiah took the unexpected decision to give it all up, to move first to Manilla and soon after to Mexico, where he lived in relative obscurity until 2014.
In recent years, led in large part by the success of The Last Magnificent, Anthony Bourdain’s biographical documentary, Jeremiah is returning to international prominence. In 2016 he published Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother, soon followed by a new and even more revealing version of his memoir, Start the Fire: How I began a Food Revolution in America.
Donald Sloan, Chair of The Oxford Cultural Collective commented on Jeremiah Tower’s appointment as a Patron: This is a very significant moment for The Oxford Cultural Collective. Jeremiah is one of the most admired and influential players in modern American gastronomy. As such, he is the perfect role model for students and aspiring hospitality professionals. In addition, his naturally engaging style will ensure his effectiveness as one of our international ambassadors. On a personal level, I am thrilled to be working collaboratively with Jeremiah on cultural and educational projects”.