Hail to the Cook

This color film lavishes praise on the cooks and pastry chefs of the Empire Room at the Palmer House, and was written and narrated by Studs Terkel.

00:00Copy video clip URL Black.

00:02Copy video clip URL Opening credits.

00:12Copy video clip URL The piece opens with a shot of three to four cooks at work at the presentation table at the Empire Room in the Palmer House. Terkel begins his narration by exclaiming, “Hail to the cook and his work of art!” Terkel gives a little introduction as to what specific processes go into making a fabulous meal.

00:44Copy video clip URL Terkel begins to talk about the various meats the cooks are working with. We see a compilation of footage from the hotel’s butcher shop. Terkel describes the actions of the various cooks with a great deal of vividness and precision.

03:22Copy video clip URL Terkel takes the viewer into what he calls “Soup Alley.” Terkel describes the cooks’ actions in making a “first class soup.” He then takes the viewer into the bread making area. Terkel exclaims, “What’s a meal without a roll? Like Adam without Eve: unfulfilled.”

04:53Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of a number of cooks making pastries. Terkel talks in great detail of the processes that go into pastry cooking.

07:40Copy video clip URL Terkel takes the viewer into the pantry area of the kitchen. It is here that the cooks make most of the finishing touches on the food that makes its way out onto the table.

09:12Copy video clip URL Fade in to a shot of a Japanese woman in attendance at the Palmer House Kitchen and the 1957 Convention of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees and Bartenders International Union at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago. The convention is very much a food show, incorporating many different kinds of artworks completely made out of food. Terkel describes the food in great detail, adding much character to not only the food, but those also included in the footage. Terkel also follows the cameras into the Washburn Trade School, a cooking school in the Chicago area. Terkel goes into great detail in describing the kind of work the students are doing.

20:00Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of the students eating the food that they made, followed by footage from the convention. Terkel gives a fine conclusion to the video.

21:59Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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