TV chef Art Ginsburg — Mr. Food — dies at 81
Art Ginsburg, the delightfully dorky television chef known as Mr. Food, died at his home in Weston, Fla., Wednesday following a struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.
Ginsburg - who enticed viewers for decades with a can-do focus on easy weeknight cooking and the tagline "Ooh! It's so good!" - was diagnosed just over a year ago. The cancer had gone into remission following early treatments and surgery, but returned earlier this month.
Ginsburg had an unlikely formula for success in this era of reality cooking shows, flashy chefs and artisanal foods. With a pleasantly goofy, grandfatherly manner and a willingness to embrace processed foods, Ginsburg endeared himself to millions of home cooks via 90-second segments syndicated to 125 local television stations around the country.
And though he published 52 Mr. Food-related cookbooks, selling more than 8 million copies, he was little known to the nation's foodies and mostly ignored by the glossy magazines. That was the way he liked it.
"They're on the Food Network. They're getting a lot of national publicity. And they're getting big money," he said of fellow food celebrities during a 2010 interview with The Associated Press. "I was always the hometown guy. I don't want to be the super celebrity. When you need bodyguards, that's not my deal."
Ginsburg grew up in the meat business, and eventually started his own catering company. He made his television debut in 1975 in upstate New York on a local morning program. His Mr. Food vignettes were syndicated in nine television markets by 1980. His popularity peaked in 2007, when he was appearing on 168 stations.
He also was generous with the enviably broad reach of his culinary pulpit, frequently inviting up-and-coming celebrities to do guest appearances with him.
"Art Ginsberg was a warm, gregarious man who knew food is more about love and sharing than a fancy ingredient list," said Rachael Ray, who Ginsburg invited on air long before she was a huge celebrity. "He was a supportive and loyal friend and I'll miss his smile and warm hugs. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful I knew him."
In recent years, Ginsburg eased his involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company he founded, Ginsburg Enterprises Incorporated, which produces the television segments and oversees his many other ventures, including a line of housewares. The company also produced television segments that did not star Ginsburg, billing them as the "Mr. Food Test Kitchen." It plans to continue producing and syndicating those segments.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- 2 cars strike horse near Fayette fair
- Steelers notebook: Shoulder pads get technological boost for Ravens game
- Steelers extend Suisham’s contract through 2018
- Rossi: Buying trust is a must for Pirates
- Turbine sites near properties in Fayette County threatened
- Fire victim’s ex-boyfriend jumps from Tarentum Bridge
- Steelers aim to create more turnovers this year with speedier defense
- Search resumes for Tarentum Bridge jumper
- Pirates’ attempts to bolster roster at deadline a fruitless endeavor
- LaBar: Big week for future of WWE & TNA