Jeremiah Tower

Jeremiah Tower (born 1942) is an American celebrity chef who, along with Alice Waters and Wolfgang Puck, has been credited with pioneering the culinary style known as California cuisine.[1] A food lover from childhood, he had no formal culinary education before beginning his career as a chef.

Jeremiah Tower
Born 1942 (age 75–76)
Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.
Education Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview (Australia)
Parkside School, Surrey (England)
Loomis School (Connecticut)
Harvard College, BA
Harvard Graduate School of Design, MA Architecture
Culinary career
Cooking style California Cuisine

Life and career

Tower was born in Stamford, Connecticut, son of a managing director of an international film sound equipment company. He was educated at Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview (Sydney, Australia); Parkside School, Surrey (England); Loomis Chaffee, Connecticut; Harvard University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

After earning a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University, he had intended to pursue design of underwater structures in Hawaii, because of his obsession with finding the lost city of Atlantis. After his grandfather died, Tower, who was used to being taken care of and supported, found himself out of money and in need of employment.

Inspired by a berry tart he had eaten at the then-unknown Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, he applied for a job there in 1972. Alice Waters and her partners hired him for his demonstrable skills and brazenness when it came to recreating great French traditional food. Within a year, he became an equal partner with Waters and the others. He was in full charge of the kitchen, the writing of the menus, and the promotion of the restaurant.[2]

Tower left Chez Panisse in 1978, after philosophical and business disagreements with the majority of the Board and with Waters in particular (she and they rejected his idea to open a Panisse Cafe). He worked at the Ventana Inn at Big Sur beginning 1978, taught briefly at the California Culinary Academy, and revived the dying Balboa Cafe in San Francisco in 1981.

In 1982, he became head chef and co-owner at Berkeley's Santa Fe Bar and Grill (a restaurant that was later a springboard for fellow Chez Panisse alum, Mark Miller, to open the Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, New Mexico and a string of Southwestern-themed restaurants throughout the United States).

In 1984, Tower opened his own restaurant, Stars, in San Francisco, in partnership with the Sante Fe Bar and Grill investors. Numerous American chefs worked at Stars, among them Mark Franz (Farallon), Mario Batali, George Francisco (Voodoo Bacon), Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier (Arrows', MC Perkins Cove) Loretta Keller (Bizou/Coco500), Joey Altman (Bay Cafe/Wild Hare), Michael Shrader (N9NE), Brendan Walsh (Arizona 206, Elms Inn), Chris Colburn (The Chanticleer, Dalvay by the Sea), and Ron Garrido (Avalon in Eureka), as well as pastry chefs Tim Grable, Emily Luchetti, and Jerry Traunfeld. Stars was among the top-grossing restaurants in the Bay Area.[3] Tower opened branches of Stars restaurant in Oakville (Napa Valley), Palo Alto, Manila, and Singapore.

He owned the Peak Cafe in Hong Kong in the 1990s, as well as various related ventures in San Francisco including a more casual cafe, an upscale bistro, and a kitchenware shop. As his fame grew he licensed his name out, and began to earn celebrity endorsement contracts, including one for Dewar's Scotch. In 1998, Tower sold a part interest in the Stars restaurants to a Singapore real estate company.[4] (The new owners closed the Stars restaurants after two years of operation.)

Tower moved to Manila for a year, then to New York City for four years, then Italy and Mexico. In 2014, he was hired as executive chef of Tavern on the Green in New York City, but he left in April 2015, after six months.[5]

In addition to writing two books in 2016,[6] Tower was the key speaker at the Ken Hom lecture series at Oxford Brookes University.[7]

In 2016, the biographical documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, by Anthony Bourdain and Zero Point Zero productions, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The 100-minute film was bought by The Orchard for US distribution in the spring of 2017.[8] On November 12, 2017 the film was broadcast on CNN.[9][10]

In 2017, Tower appeared on Top Chef, the Rick Stein TV show “Road to Mexico” for BBC, the CRAVE wine and food festival, Spokane, Washington, guest of honor at Chef’s Roll, Miami Beach, and as a judge at the Basque Culinary Center World Awards, Mexico City.

Awards and honors

Tower's first book, New American Classics, won a James Beard Foundation Award in 1986 for "Best American Regional Cookbook". In 1996, Tower won the James Beard Foundation's award for "Outstanding Chef of the Year".


  • Tower, Jeremiah (1986). Jeremiah Tower's New American Classics. Harper & Row. ASIN B001L1528C.
  • Tower, Jeremiah (2002). Jeremiah Tower Cooks: 250 Recipes from an American Master. Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 978-1584792307.
  • Pellaprat, Henri-Paul; Tower, Jeremiah (2003). The Great Book of French Cuisine: Revised Edition. Vendome Press. ISBN 978-0865652316.
  • Tower, Jeremiah (2003). America's Best Chefs Cook with Jeremiah Tower. Wiley. ISBN 978-0471451419.
  • Frasier, Clark; Gaier, Mark; Alexander, Max (2003). The Arrows Cookbook: Cooking and Gardening from Maine's Most Beautiful Farmhouse Restaurant. Foreword by Jeremiah Tower. Scribner. ASIN B0058M5ADC.
  • Villas, James (2004). Stalking the Green Fairy: And Other Fantastic Adventures in Food and Drink. Foreword by Jeremiah Tower. Wiley. ISBN 978-0471273448.
  • Tower, Jeremiah (2004). California Dish: What I Saw (and Cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution. Free Press. ISBN 978-0743228459.
  • Tower, Jeremiah (2016). Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0374272340.
  • Tower, Jeremiah (2017). Start the Fire: How I Began A Food Revolution In America. Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0062498434.


Further reading

External links

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