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The TV Column

AETN dishes up specials on four noted chefs

By Michael Storey

This article was published May 18, 2017 at 2:02 a.m.

Julia Child and James Beard are honored by the New York City Wine and Food Society in this 1975 file photo.

Attention food lovers. AETN has a tasty treat for you with American Masters -- James Beard: America's First Foodie set for 8 p.m. Friday.

This new documentary is a profile of the legendary cookbook author, journalist, TV celebrity and teacher who championed localism and sustainability long before all of that became cool.

"Beard was an enormously important figure in American cooking at a time when American cooking was really sort of a desert," said Ted Allen, television host and James Beard Award winner.

Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters, added, "Beard was a passionate teacher who nurtured a generation of American chefs and cookbook authors. His pioneer work transformed American cuisine and forever changed the way we cook, consume and think about food."

Born in Portland, Ore., where he developed his love of seafood, Beard (1903-1985) pioneered America's "back-to-basics" food movement and was a forerunner of the farm-to-table concept. He also helped create the iconic Four Seasons concept with its seasonally changing menu.

Beard also introduced Julia Child to New York and later became her best friend.

Highlights of the special include noted French chef Jacques Pepin reminiscing about cooking with Beard; Martha Stewart sharing how Beard's cookbooks influenced her; and Allen discussing Beard's challenges being a public gay man at a time when homosexual activity was illegal.

Here are the other American Masters specials in the "Chefs Flight" series set for AETN and PBS.

American Masters -- Julia! America's Favorite Chef, 9 p.m. Friday (encore). The life and legacy of Julia Child (1912-2004) is celebrated. Child is remembered for introducing French cuisine to American home cooks through her books and television series -- beginning with WGBH's The French Chef in 1963.

American Masters -- Jacques Pepin: The Art of Craft, 8 p.m. May 26. Narrated by Stanley Tucci, the special shows how Pepin "ushered in a new era in American food culture -- a story that continues to unfold."

American Masters -- Alice Waters and Her Delicious Revolution, 9 p.m. May 26 (encore). The documentary follows Waters through a year of seasonal shopping and cooking, and shows how she and her Chez Panisse restaurant "became a major force behind the way Americans eat and think about food."

• 12 Monkeys returns for Season 3 from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday on Syfy with four 45-minute episodes.

SEASON FINALES

Today:

The Blacklist, 9 p.m. NBC. In the Season 4 finale, "Mr. Kaplan: Conclusion," Red (James Spader) sets a dangerous plan in motion to save himself and the Task Force as Mr. Kaplan (Susan Blommaert) engages in the final phase of her assault on his criminal empire.

Grey's Anatomy, 7 p.m. ABC. In the Season 13 finale, "Ring of Fire," a dangerous patient escapes in the hospital, putting the doctor's lives at risk. Trivia: This is the series' 293rd episode.

Scandal, 8 p.m. ABC. In the double episode Season 6 finale, "Tick, Tock/Transfer of Power," as the inauguration of President-elect Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) approaches, Olivia (Kerry Washington) takes a risk to ensure her safety.

MasterChef Junior, 7 to 9 p.m. Fox. The two-hour Season 5 closer will present "The Semi Finals" and "Finale" as the top four cooks compete. Wolfgang Puck and Martha Stewart are guest judges.

Supernatural, 8 p.m. The CW. In the Season 12 finale, "All Along the Watchtower," Lucifer (Mark Pellegrino) battles Sam, Dean and Castiel (Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins) for control of his unborn child. Trivia: Supernatural is the longest-running sci-fi series in U.S. history.

Friday:

The Toy Box, 7 to 9 p.m. ABC. The final two episodes of the first season include a rocket, a party game, a way to create three-dimensional images out of water, a wooden robot and a plush toy ladybug that can record messages. The judges decide who will have their toy produced.

Undercover Boss, 7 p.m. CBS. The Season 8 finale features celebrity chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson going under cover at four locations to find and mentor new talent.

Saturday:

Training Day 8 p.m. CBS. Season 1 (and the series) concludes with "Elegy, Part 2." The episode finds Frank (the late Bill Paxton) on a rogue mission to Mexico, causing Kyle, Tommy and Rebecca (Justin Cornwell, Drew Van Acker, Katrina Law) to try to rescue him.

Paxton died from complications following heart surgery on Feb. 25 at the age of 61. All 13 episodes of Training Day had been filmed.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 05/18/2017

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