Jeff Smith, the United Methodist minister who shot to stardom in the 1980s as the “The Frugal Gourmet,” died on July 7 of natural causes. He was 65.
The Tacoma, Wash., native earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree from Drew University. Ordained as a minister in 1965, Smith spent the next six years as a chaplain at the University of Puget Sound, where he taught a course called “Food as Sacrament and Celebration.”
From 1972 to 1983, Smith owned and operated the Chaplain’s Pantry Restaurant and Gourmet Shop, an establishment that also served as a catering service and cooking school. His teaching skills, kind demeanor and culinary acumen were so renowned that the local PBS affiliate, KTPS-TV, offered him his first show, “Cooking Fish Creatively.” It was later renamed “The Frugal Gourmet.”
Smith moved the show’s production to Chicago in the early 1980s, then made a promotional appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show” that garnered more than 45,000 orders for his cookbook. Soon “The Frugal Gourmet” was the most-watched cooking show in the United States, drawing up to 15 million viewers on 300 stations. His 12 cookbooks sold millions of copies and became best-sellers in that genre. He ended every show with his trademark sign-off: “I bid you peace.”
In 1997, Smith’s television career ended in scandal when seven men filed a lawsuit claiming he had sexually abused them when they were teenagers. Although Smith denied the allegations and was never charged with a crime, his cooking show was pulled off the air. Smith and his insurance company eventually settled the suit for $5 million.
July 10, 2004 by
Categories: Business, Media, Religious Leaders, Writers/Editors
Jeff Smith, the United Methodist minister who shot to stardom in the 1980s as the “The Frugal Gourmet,” died on July 7 of natural causes. He was 65.
Dear Jeff, “I bid you peace” Amen.
My prayers are with Jeff Smith’s family. He was a great human being. I’m sorry that I havn’t been able to view his show on TV anymore. I do have one of his cook books; I’ll be sure to cherish it.
Peace be with you “The Frugal Gourmet”.
I grew up watching his cooking show. He surely set the stage for all of the food shows that exists today. What a shame that his memory will be tarnished.
I always thought you were a wonderful
I have all of you cookbooks,
and loved your television show.
I am sorry for the grief that you were
I will never forget you.
I spent many a Saturday afternoon watching the “Frug”. His cooksbooks are still the most used in my house, the most stained. May your memory forever be a blessing. May G-d grant your family peace.
WOW! I was sadden to hear that Jeff Smith has passed away. I spent many days watching his show the Frugal Gourmet with my grandmother…I think I have every tape of every show he did as well as every book. She left them to me when she passed away many years ago.
Thanks Jeff for a wonderful run…I never believed one damn “lie” that was said about you. Rest in peace Sir..you will mill truely missed. Oh and if you see a tall short gray haired woman running towards ya at the gates..its just my Grandmother…boy, does she wanna cook with you.
THANK YOU JEFF SMITH FOR THE THE BEST COOKING AND
THOUGHTS. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVORITE YOU WERE
THE FIRST THAT TALK TO ME ON PPS. I WISH PPS WOULD START SHOWING YOUR OLD SHOWS, YOUR ARE THE
BEST AND GOD BLESS YOU.
LOVE ALWAYS AND YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS FOR YOUR FAMILY.
For some odd reason I decided to look up “The Frugal Gourmet” this morning on a Google search. I was an avid viewer of the show for many years, the Itailian gravy is still one of my favorite recipes. I was hoping to find some good news about Jeff Smith but found that he had passed away way too young. I have missed the Frug’s show and never watch cooking shows any more. There was no one like him. He is truly missed.
My memories – My son sitting with me in a comfy chair early afternoon after his preschool watching the”recipe guy”. How I cherished those times with my son Andrew. Jeff Smith seemed like such a sweet person…I have never watched another cooking show since his went off the air. As soon as I mentioned Jeff’s name today my son recalled those same memories I had. Thanks Jeff for those times I can cherish forever. Your family was truly blessed to have you.
I remember watching his show as a kid (I am 25 now). I always thought it was very cool that we had the same name. I also liked the traveling that was part of the show.
First Justin Wilson, and now Jeff Smith. It seems all of the fun cooks are gone. Perhaps Jeff shared more with Mr.Rodgers for his gentle goor humor and ability to teach us all. I will treasure my copies of his books always.
I dug out one of my Jeff Smith cookbooks this week and found a recipe I wanted to make for a small dinner party last evening. One of my guests remarked how good this particular dish was and asked where I got the recipe. I told her it was from one of the Frugal Gourmet’s cookbooks. She then told me that he had died. I was and am extremely sad to know he’s no longer in this world. My dinner turned into a memorial to him. Rest in peace, Jeff. You made it a joy to watch television.
I am so sad to hear Jeff has left us. My earliest memories of attempting to cook are split between my grandmother and Jeff Smith. In fact as a young man, I was so impressed with the “Frugal Gourmet” I started to enjoy cooking. In my household the meals are left to me, it is a labor of love! Since I am the chef, I dont have to clean after. How great is that!
May you go with god!
Jeff Smith, “The Frugal Gourmet” is the reason I decided to begin cooking.
I am now an accomplished kitchen superhero because he made cooking seem human. He screwed up a lot, and I loved it. His dishes tasted fantastic, but mine — inspired by his — were even better. I was so thrilled that I could cook something and do it well that I started a journey into culinary excellence and I haven’t stopped since.
I had no idea about these allegations, or the cancellation of his show. I merely began complaining years ago that I couldn’t find him in any public television programming. I’m shocked, and have no clue what to make of it all.
All I know is that he is the reason I can walk into any damn kitchen, and I do mean any kitchen, and bang out something really great. I haven’t met a pantry I could tackle thanks to him.
Sheesh, this is sad as hell. I’m going to miss you Mr. Smith.
“I bid you peace.”
What an adorable and sweet man! That’s the way I will always remember “The Frug”! He had a sweet smile and sweet laugh! Just watching him take control of his kitchen was always a real pleasure! Nothing ever phased him. No matter what was on against his show, I would always choose him as he had a very calming effect as he performed his MAGIC! He always gave me the motivation to tackle his recipes as he made them look so easy. You could see how much fun he always had and it made me want to cook his recipes just like he did with all of his cute little gadgets! You could always tell what a love affair this man had with his family, people in general and the art of cooking. He was a great teacher and always a joy to watch. I had not heard of his problems (which I never would have believed) and was very disappointed when I could no longer find his show on TV.
Thank you for everything Jeff. You will be sorely missed. I have your books which have just become some of my most cherished possessions. But I know you are in a better place, probably doing what you do best-cooking! REST IN PEACE, you sweet man. I bid you peace forever and always.
May God welcome you, with open arms. Love, Jack
“The Frugal Gourmet” was a favorite of mine to watch on PBS. The way Mr. Smith would talk to his audience, and his laughter and technique just made it a cozy atmosphere. I miss that show, I was much disappointed when it was stopped.
How sad it is that he has passed before he could maybe someday return to television and give us a few more cooking lessons.
Rest in peace, Mr. Smith.
I am saddened by the untimely death of Jeff Smith. I credit Mr. Smith and “The Frugal Gourmet” with beguiling me into my kitchen on weekends! His words were simple as American pie, his manner sweet as a vineyard orchard in Spring.
I’d rather hear “I bid you Peace” instead of “Bam.”
A toast to you in Heaven!
“The Frugal Gourmet” was definately a favorite show of mine. I started watching Jeff Smith when I became a mom and was home with my kids during the day. I rememeber watching Seseme Street with my son one day and saw Jeff Smith holding a HUGE wooden fork and spoon. He was doing a guest spot for them, and I was so excited. In my small household, when you make it on Seseme Street, you’ve really made it big!
Go in peace Mr. Smith. We all will miss you.
I really enjoyed Jeffs Smiths shows, he really had it together. He was more informative then most shows on TV today.
I have missed you for some time now Jeff. When the seven witnesses came forward and charges were not filed I saw blackmail as their motive. As a fellow Aquarius I know that a heart such as yours which is always turned outward is difficult to defend against evil directed at you. It is the bounty of gifts of the Waterbearer to others which gives the jealous an easy route to destruction. I grieve with you at the wretched degree which incompassion drives the wicked.
I bid you peace and rest easy in the belief that your sweet soul has already reincarnated to continue the great work for which your soul is forever called. email@example.com
I loved to watch “The Frugal Gourmet” on PBS and always wondered why it was taken off the air. Of course, I don’t really believe that Mr. Smith could have committed those crimes (I’m not saying that he wasn’t capable of doing it, I’m just saying that I don’t believe that he did it!!), but only God can judge him now. This new information doesn’t change the way I feel about his show or his talents-God Speed Jeff Smith!!!
We will always miss you and your wonderfull soul. Your family is on our prayers. Our hearts are suffering, but most of all, they changed forever by your messages and good humor, and recipes!!
Rest in peace my friend!
I. Just. Miss. You. Owch.
You taught me how to cook, and how to love food and life. Your books are a constant reference in our kitchen. I learned so much from you, and you have enriched the lives of all in my family. We bid you peace.
I am Jeff’s cousin David from San Francisco. I would like to relate a story. When Jeff decided that he wanted to pursue his culinary path, he needed to get permission from the Methodist Church where he was a clergyman. He had been doing some cooking, teaching and catering out of his house and it was time to move it all up a notch. Jeff always believed in, as he said, that “Life is a celebration, and food is one of its sacraments.” When he talked with his Bishop, he reitterated this belief and said that as far as he was concerned, he would still be preaching, it would just be to a larger flock. He was given permission and as they say, the rest is history. Preach to a larger flock? Simply the most succesful food TV show ever and the largest selling cookbook author ever. Thanks to all who have posted such nice things on this site. It means a lot to family and friends. And all of you who did not know him but were entertained and influenced by him.
I own all of his cookbooks and he wrote
to me on August 1, 2001 saying his health
was declining. He closed the letter with his; “I bid you peace.” I was a huge fan of his cooking shows and miss the comfort, humor and
knowledge he shared. There is and was no one
like him. He along with Julia Child and James
Beard were the best on TV….it will never be
It believe I first tuned in to the Frugal Gourmet in ’91 on MPT back East. Jeff was making a Lebanese (?) dish involving raw ground lamb, raw egg and onion. By the time he was finished my initial revulsion turned into total fascination and I made a point of catching his show whenever I could.
When my wife and I initially moved in together a few years later, we would always catch his re-runs on the weekend on KTEH out of San Jose, CA. I was angered and distraught when his show was pulled.
I give Jeff a good deal of credit for sparking my amateur interest in the culinary arts for which I am forever grateful.
THIS SUCKS!!! The Frug was the greatest TV food show host ever. I had the opportunity to meet him at several book signings and he was always warm and friendly, just like on his show. He got me interested in food and culture, THANK YOU.
You opened my heart a little wider, thank you.
Enter into the joy of our Lord.
i remember when i was 10 during the summer watching his show, canceling playing baseball with my friends to watch his show, then they started to watch his show with me. Now i thank him every time i cook. Because my wife is not afraid i will burn the kitchen down… and those other friends i had… who i converted to watching his show. One is a chef at The Ritz and the other is a baker. “i bid peace to you”
to jeff smith’s family — i wish you- love, mercy,grace and peace. he brightened the tv and many lives including my own. i have many of his cook books and never believed any of the things he was accused of. only God knows. he was a good man and a great cook.
I can recall the first day I met you in 1965 at the University of Puget Sound. Me with high hopes for the future and no career in sight.
I remember when you opened up The Chaplain’s Pantry and I bought gifts for my wife there.
I also remember you 25 years later after having become a psychologist and expert on child abuse and having dealt with some of those you saw fit to exploit and sexually abuse. I was shocked although through mutual friends I had become aware of your dark side. What a travesty to both the youth and the church that entrusted you. I remember your arrogance when I approached you in Seattle and because of my position your understandable reluctance to even talk to a former student.
Despite a “familiar” facade on TV and in person you had become someone that society, for good reason, despised and will not easily forget.
Sleep Well Jeff.
See You On The Other Side.
You made cooking so much fun. You were so human, so warm with such a gentle nature about you. I’ll truley miss you Frug. When people listen to my voice mail message it always ends. “I BID YOU PEACE”. Ask my Granny to show you and Julia how to make her famous “Sling Goody”. MISS YOU MUCH
I remember doing my first serious cooking because of your influence. I wrote to you about how much my late father loved your show and I still have the wonderful letter you responded with. I’ll cherish that forever.
Rest in peace my friend. You’re another star in the heavens with Julia Child and James Beard.
YOU WERE AN INSPIRATION TO ME.
SLEEP WELL, WE WILL NEVER FORGET
I loved your shows but you definitely had some problems. I hope you found peace.
The best cooking show to come along yet. You are sorely missed.
Dear Jeff, as an Asian-American born and raised overseas until coming of age, I had always been your fan simply for the fact that you did not just “include” some Asian dishes in the show but actually teach us what counted as authentic and what did not. You were/are genuine, practical, and magical. Whenever a cooking show is on, I can’t help but compare it with yours. And you know nobody’s good as you were. May I bid you peace, my frugal cook.
Sadness filled my heart today as I had just learned of Jeff Smith’s passing. It has been several months, but I had no idea. I hold dear to my heart his cook book On Our Immigrant Ancestors. I grew up watching him, he came on everyday after school. I will miss you Jeff, may you rest in peace!
I was scrolling around on MSN and came about the yearly list of who has passed away. I don’t know why I looked, but I did. I saw Jeff Smith. I didn’t know that he passed away until today. I remember watching the show with my father. Jeff had a way of making you feel safe about cooking. I don’t know how else to describe it. I felt the same way about Bob Ross the painter on TV who did whispy little fun clouds. Just nice guys. I bid you peace.
Was reading a list of those who passed, and was saddened to see the ‘Frug’s name listed. As a young lad and teen, I watched for YEARS on KQED, and later my wife praised my cooking skills: I had to split the thanks ‘tween Jeff and my Mother.
My wife bought me three of his books in 1990 (Frugal Gourmet, …Wine, and …American), and she had already flipped through them to annotate which meals she wanted me to cook.
Sir, I will make the Chicken Picatta, Vodka Tomato & Onion Salad, and a pasta this eve… crack open a bottle of wine, and raise it in your name.
The Peace you bid us be returned a thousand-fold to you and YOUR family.
I watched you as a young bride during the late 1980’s, and learned to cook great meals for my family. When my children were old enough to go to school, I decided to get a degree in Culinary Arts–and you had played a big part in that decision. I now enjoy a wonderful career as a Chef Instructor in Hawaii.
Till this day, I use your recipes, and in fact, we had just feasted on prime rib for our Christmas Dinner (the recipe was from your cookbook, “The Frugal Gourmet Celebrates Christmas”). Your recipes never let me down. I will miss you.
I heard about the scandal you were involved in– but without passing judgement on you–I’d like to say that I hope you have found peace with yourself and God.
Today is Christmas Day, and we served looed goose, a Jeff Smith speciality, found in his ancient cuisines of the world cookbook. What an incredible loss the culinary world has suffered this year, with the loss of Julia Child and the loss of Jeff Smith. Jeff Smith has brought the world such a ray of light, and his shows were absolutley unforgettable. Perhaps God needed some cooks in His kitchen so he called Mr. Smith and Ms. Child home. Jeff Smith used humor, a down home earthiness, and pure love in his kitchen, and it showed. I will forever remember watching his shows with my beloved grandmother, and to this very day, his presence is in our kitchen, and though Jeff is gone, his spirit remains, and you can still hear his voice in the kitchen via the magic of VHS telling us the proper way to cut a chicken without ruining it. He is still messy, and we wouldnt have it any other way.
I was always a fan of cooking shows…going way back to the original Galloping Gourmet with Graham Kerr. When I first saw “The Frugal Gourmet”, I was “hooked” and purchased a number of his books. I always remember his adage “hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick!” I was saddened when his show went off the air and I heard of the scandals. However, his influence in the culinary world can not be ignored.
Jeff – I bid you peace!
Saturday afternoons just haven’t been the same since you left the airwaves. Your show was a staple ingredient of my weekends for many years. I’ve often wondered how you were doing and today I learn that you passed away nearly six months ago. How did I miss that? Peace to you, Jeff. Thank you for all the enjoyment your shows brought me and others over the years.
My husband and I were watching the year in review tonight and saw Rev. Smith’s death listed. We had not known he had passed until then. We have all of his books. Including his christmas book. I had just read bits of it to my Grandchildren during Christmas.
My husband leaned a wonderful gravy for pasta watching his shows. My daughter cooks it to this day.
I treasure the research and the way the books were easy to use.
I know his family is hurting. May they find peace.
Thanks Jeff for all the wonderful tips and recipes you gave us. I will always remember watching your program with my late Dad (also a wonderful cook and expert on food) and hearing him say “this guy knows his business”. It only takes a few unsubstanciated lies to attract the evil vultures of the media, but your loving spirit always shined on through! May God bless you in whatever future awaits the good beyond this trial.
i loved his show very much,i always watched it with my mom,she passed away two years ago.i really wish they would show reruns of the show.
You were always a joy to watch and learn from, I do miss you. May peace be with you and your family.
I just learned today of your passing and I feel as if I’ve lost a cherished family member too long neglected. I never knew of the scandalous lies that were spread about you. I hope a special place in hell awaits those that spat out the specious allegations and those that repeated them. You will always be a fondly remembered friend. I pray that your family finds some comfort in knowing that you were very, very special to millions.
Two of my cooking hero legends have departed this life and I’m saddened by this. Julia Child and Jeff Smith taught me that cooking was fun, healthy, and economical. As an avid watcher of the Frugal Gourmet, I gained courage and skills to practice cooking other than microwave meals. My prayers for both of those familys they leave behind. Paul
I started watching your shows when I was in college. Frugality was a must and watching your shows were a pleasure. Recipies so easy and simple but oh so good, taking the mystery out of cooking great food. You started me on a path of cooking and thanks to you I very much enjoy it to this day and have been told I am fairly good at it. Your cookbooks will always have a prominent place on my shelf for their usefulness and quality.
“HOT PAN COLD OIL FOODS NEVER STICK!”
I bid you and your family peace. My thoughts are with all of you. Dan.
Jeff Smith’s TV shows and cookbooks have been a positive influence on myself, and my three children. His exploration of different cultures, through the food they cook, eat, and entertain with, has become a cornerstone of my personal approach to my family, my neighbors, and my community. The unsubstantiated charges against him did cause me some discomfort. Regardless, my personal philosophy toward the various cultures influencing my society, owes a lot to him. When I discovered that he had passed away, I was deeply saddened. Jeff Smith, I bid you peace.
Somehow I missed the news of Jeff’s death. For some reason, this morning, I decided to look up anything to do with the “Frug” and see what was happening to him. I, along with so many others, enjoyed his cooking show on many Saturdays. I have all of his books, except for the one about wine and I have had many successful experiences making his recipes. We all have good parts to our lives and bad parts. I choose to remember the man who made me smile so many times and brought peace to my heart. In a perfect world, God judges, and we accept, for we also will be judged someday.
I miss you, Jeff and I pray that you had some peace in your heart and in your life before God called you home.
I bid you peace, my friend. You made an indelible mark on my heart. *hug*
The world is a sadder place without such a gentle soul. I watched all your shows and by your example I became a better cook. I saw you once, at the airport in Chicago, and now I wish I had shaken your hand and met you, but I respected your privacy. Bright Blessings on your journey, may we meet again.
Jeff Smith …. I must say that I watched your show for many years. I enjoyed watching your and I enjoyed you. On the allagations from the 7 men, that is not for me to judge. God will be your final judge.
Thank you for being my culinary guide for so many years. Your cheesecake recipe has won many ooohs and aaahs from my friends and family over the years and will be in my book always.
May your kind and gentle soul find the peach you bidded others.
As a child I would watch Julia Child on PBS and as a teen I would watch The Frugal Gourmet. Every Saturday, I would travel, dream and explore. I will begin culinary school this fall (at the age of 40) and even though its been years since I have seen your bright face, you my dear friend, gave me the courage to dream. Mr. Smith, Thank you. Thank you, Thank you.
I bid you eternal peace
I never knew he died until yesterday. He
Well, here we are a year after Jeff’s death. I just found out today buddy, and I guess all the above postings have spelled it out loud and clear…. take care, go with God, and always… I bid you peace.
This is disgusting. The man was a sick pervert pedarist. He’s frying in the pork fat that disdained.
You were my first tv cooking show, I watched you faithfully and loved the history lession that went along with the recipes. I have one book that I now will have to find so I can re-read it.
I bid you peace!
I was 35 yrs old and sick of cooking the same 15 to 20 meals over and over again. Then your show caught my attention. You were so fun! I started cooking your recipes and got enthusiastic about cooking. I started watching with my husband; then we started cooking together. Those were the best times of our (now failed) marriage. Even after being divorced 10+ yrs, we still share our “trade secrets” in the kitchen. I have to say, I was saddened today (1 yr after you passed) to read this blog and find out the sad way your career was ended. Shame on those “Satanic 7” that accused you of such vile acts.
I BID YOU PEACE~
I worked for Jeff at the Chaplain’s pantry in 1974, he is the reason for my love of cooking and my freedom to be creative. Thanks Jeff, I’ll see you with Jesus.
Laura, US Navy Retired
It’s only today that I learned of Jeff’s passing more than a year ago, and the world is definitely a sadder place without him.
It was Jeff who first got me hooked on TV cooking shows with his “Frugal Gourmet”. I’ve been constantly collecting his books since then.
Peace be with you Frug. We miss you.
Jeff taught me to cook and have fun in the kitchen. No other cook comes close to his teaching technique.
I recently created a web site dedicated to the Frug… The Frugal Fan.
Keep his memory alive at http://www.frugal-fan.150m dot com
I am glad you are at Peace with the Lord, I’m comforted to know that you are sharing your wonderful cooking skills with our Maker. We were blessed to have you and will be happy to see you again in eternity. God Bless your sweet family.
So long Jeff, we hardley knew you!
Sory you went wat yu went through. Only you know the truth.But i thank you for your warm receptions into your kitchen—-you made us all feel blessed!!!!
I think I watched all of Jeff Smiths programs that were broadcast from WTTW Chcgo. I enjoyed each one. I learned enough from him to feed myself better than anyone had before or has since. We will not know the truth of the allegations made against him, but they were never proven. I bid him Godspeed. I thank him for his good humor and entertainment. To his family, I am sorry for your loss. God Bless Jeff Smith.
I learned yesterday where my favourite chef had gone. I will always miss you and the great shows. This abuse crap is now an american way of getting back for god knows what. Charges never laid. Your smile and infectious delight of food will always be with me. I bid you peace.
Thank You Professor Smith – You taught me to cook well – and I do cook well – I remember you as I cook at time “Hot Pan, cold oil, food won’t stick” andother stuff, your disdain for garlic salt was classic – I met you once, at Olsson’s books in Washington DC 1989 and you signed two of my books, Cooking with Wine and Immigrant Ancestors – Craig Wollam too. Thank You again, I know the dear Lord is happy to have you cooking in Heaven.
the only tv program fit to watch.sure do miss it.peace
i remember watchin u as a kid wit my dad we gonna miss u
I was just thinking how much I miss your shows. I watched so much that my friends called me Frug. I know you have found your peace.
i liked watching his show, always interesting. All good things must come to an end. He had talent for all of us to share. Until we meet again…
Huntington Beach, CA
I watched Jeff’s show every chance I could. As a young man I learned a great deal on cooking and for this I am thankful. One of my favorite quote from Jeff was ” hot wok cool oil foods won’t stick” My daughters even learned this from his show. I wish they would show reruns. Thanks Jeff, I bid you peace!!!!
God bless you Jeff Smith; I grew up in an Italian home where mom was the cook But Dad was the chef! We all enjoyed watching you make cooking fun and a family event. My Wife is a flight attendant and we’ve tasted food from all over the world. She bought all your cookbooks because the were practical, easy, fun and reminded us of our trips! We had many dinner parties discussing the recipes of the “Frugal gourmet”. You were truly a shining STAR and are deeply missed.
I began watching Jeff Smith on PBS when I was a young man, growing up far from anything other than coalmines and mountains. He brought the sights and the sounds of far away cultures into the living room, and showed me how to cook new foods and seasonings that originated in those cultures. He taught me that food is life… and that people (and cultures) can be understood by understanding their food.
Thank you, Mr. Smith.
I would love to see the Frugal Gourmet’s programs come out in DVD sets. It would be great to see them whenever I want.
( must say at age 57 I look back and can thank Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet), Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) and my late Italian fraternal Grandmother for instilling in me a passion to cook! To my last day they will be three of the biggest influences in my life. Thank you all and may God bless…
You know with all the Priest allegations, who knows. I was brought up to think where there is smoke there is fire. These young men would not have come forward with out some reason. God have mercy on him if they are true. Neal Virginia
I just learned Jeff Smith passed in 2004. I was shocked. His books are classic and I became a better cook because of him.
Truly, Jeff Smith was one heck of a guy and what was said of him remains a moot question.
Miss your TV shows and Go In Peace. A true Loss.
its true i assure.,i worked with him in 78,i was 17 at the pantry.i experienced it somewhat.i told my uncle the first day i was there when jeff tapped my bottom ,and i told him not too.he couldnt mess around while i was there.i quit cause we had a cute girl i dated and he said i couldnt.and i said if you can make-out in your office with your male manager,i can sleep with her and walked right out after id done the shopping that morning.i am somewhat lets say forgiving.my uncle drove down and threatened to kill him if he did it again.he taught me alot after that,was generally a good guy. i was salad chef better part of 78.whole bottles of blue nun after we served food at gigs.like annie wright girls school.did lots .i believe the drinkin age was 21 but i wasnt complaining.well jeff,i forgive you for me.after all,i was 6,2″ street kid.didnt work on me.i always felt sorry for his wife.who i never met.hope she is well,as for the kids.i visited him actually in early 80’s.he always told me.get your ged.i took his advise.and i been married 24 years for what itrs worth!told my wife long ago.i dont mean to be to forgiving.what he did was very bad and should be acknowleged.sad but true.farewell jeff.he sure was high energy chef to say the least!taught me well.good teacher!kinda loud,but good.
i remember seeing an episode where he spoke of being stopped by customs and questioned about what type of food he had brought back from… italy? we picked up a family friend at sea-tac who said she did not know the frug was on her flight until she saw him mobbed in boston. I saw the frug at sea-tac. i think it was the same trip he was talking about. just kind of neat to be a part of that.
It looks like not many people post here very often any more, so who knows — maybe no one will read this — but for my own peace of mind I need to say I know in my heart that Jeff was wrongfully accused. I knew him personally when I was a 14 year old boy. Long story short, I was a fan of his who met him on a tour appearance, and I wrote him a fan letter and he invited me to watch him tape a show (I lived in Chicago at the time his show was produced at WTTW Chicago) I was in awe of him, and went back to just hang around the set as often as I could. I suppose the fact that he was so kind to a teenage boy seems suspicious to some now, but I say the fact that he was never inappropriate with me proves to me that he was innocent of those allegations. If he were a “pedophile” as he was accused, I doubt he would have had a 14 year old boy, who idolized him, in his presence and not acted inappropriately. I also believe that 14 is old enough to know what is and what isn’t appropriate, so I surely would have known and would remember anything improper. The only factor I can imagine contributed to these allegations is that he was a very physically demonstrative man; he used to hug everyone, all the time, men and women, and that included me. I think it’s a sad statement that for a man to give another younger man a hug would lead to him being labeled a pedophile, but I think that may be what happened here. Maybe because he was so tactile it was misinterpreted, or someone say that as an area of vulnerability and took advantage of it. I don’t know. What I DO know is that he was wonderful to me, and he was an all around wonderful man. I miss him.
I am saddened to see that Jeff passed with so much controversey.Dont worry Jeff, God knows the truth.We loved your books and your shows. Im sure you are still cooking in heaven!Ralph Walke
While browsing in a local thrift shop book section I came across THE FRUGAL GOURMET for $1.50
and instantly remembered that wonderful smile and
sincerity of Jeff Smith. My next thought, “Must google him” and catch up with a memoried friend. I
had to check my emotions when I saw the first entry Jeff Smith 1939-2004! Like so many I was unaware of his passing and equally sadden as if he were a family member. I remember all the media uproar on accusations against him, but not one media report on his death. His life and heart were genuine for only genuineness can influence the lives and hearts of so many. SYOTOS! (see you on the other side)
I too was taken with Jeff’s warmth and sincerity.
I have several of his books also.
I introduced my wife to his pea salad and we are asked to bring it when we dine with others.
What a great loss.
I bid him peace.
I am completely crushed that this man has passed away! I wondered what happened to his cooking show. As a young boy this show sustained me, inspired me and kept me out of trouble but moreover, introduced me to a culinary world that I love to this day.
An Ode To Jeff Smith
You were like a father to me,
every day you greeted me
in that warm and welcoming voice.
You kept me company as a latchkey kid,
teaching me things
that I had no other way of learning.
Things that reverberate in my heart
even to this day.
How I am saddened
at your passing…my tears proof
of the effect
that you had on my life.
I wanted to be like you
kind, sophisticated, classy
and yet so humble.
You made cooking look easy,
and it made a way into my heart.
I watched you everyday,
looking forward to the next
presentation and the innate
lessons that were embedded
in your shows.
And really I think,
I tuned in every day
to hear you say,
“I bid you peace.”
And so now, I end dejected
because you are gone,
and yet happy because I know
you’re in a Better Place…
and so I say to you Jeff:
“I bid you Peace, and farewell.”
I thought of you the other day when my son turned 25, I remembered the impact you had on his life as a toddler :). I was remembering when he sat on the coach that seemed to swallow him up because it was so much bigger than he was and he would inform me that he was “busy”. I thought it was cute because he was only 3 years old. What made him so busy was his favorite show “The Frugal Gourmet” and dinner had to wait. To this day he is still cooking and it keeps him busy.
I don’t know why I was wondering what ever happened to Jeff. Googled and was shocked to hear of his death. I loved his show and with Elomo was priceless. May he be at peace.
I would love to see The Frugal Gourmet shows come out on DVD. I would buy them all.
I have all of his cookbooks and recently turned to one just to remember how to roast beef bones for soup stock.
You know I didn’t even know Jeff had passed away. After the scandal broke I kinda didn’t know what to think. I think now it was just a game of money by some crooked money grubbing bastards. I always enjoyed watching Jeff cook, and so did my family. Peace to you my friend and RIP.
I heard the news about your passing. Now dear Jeff you are at peace. You were one of the very best, we pray for your family and friends that they may know how much you were loved and missed.I have all your cookbooks and have been using them for over 20 years.
Like many here, I was saddened to hear of his death. I will always give Jeff the benefit of a doubt because his accusers seem to have been “bought off” so willingly. However, even Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice in Wonderland” had his seamier side, yet we choose to remember him as a beloved author of a children’s classic.
So let it be with Jeff Smith, I will remember his show, which I greatly miss and his books which I will always use.
I wish him peace.
I was seaching today for your holiday cookbook online and was saddened to see you have left this world. I lost your book in Katrina and I needed it again. Your book is like an old friend. I couldn’t find it in books store, but now I will soon have it to cherish once again. My daughter and I always cooked Christmas and Thanksgiving together from your cookbook. We look forward to cooking from it once again this Christmas. May God Bless You and Keep You. I never knew why you left tv. What a sad ending to your tv career whether true or false. I bid you Peace. BB
Like so many others, Jeff Smith taught me to cook. As a young mother with 8 children, I needed all the help I could get in the kitchen. I have all his books and still make many of his dishes.
I loved his gentle way. He has faced his God and received judgement. I trust he is now at peace. I hope his family has also found peace and can appreciate the best of him. I have.
You were and are a very important and meaningful influence in my life. You showed me it is okay to be educated, caring and a great cook. At a time when I was in need of a guide, you lead me in the right direction. Thanks for having the courage to show men that cooking and caring is okay. Thanks to you, I have skills and knowledge that I use every day.
I will always remember you and I honor your memory and legacy.
“I bid you peace” my friend
Jeff was a great guy, I used to love to watch his shows. So many great recipes. I have several of his cookbooks and several tapes of his shows. I remember him from the Cook and the Book events at Penn’s Landing in Philly. Always there with a smile. It makes me sad to think his name was dragged through the mud before he left this world. He’d be a huge hit on the Food Network, putting everyone else to shame.
I tragically learned of Jeff’s passing only today. I found a love of cooking through watching his shows and was even published in Bon Appetit magazine – all due to his gentle nature, wise cooking tips and poignant philosophy. And I learned how to blend regional herbs and spices to create excellent tasting dishes.
He lived his life with zeal and was truly fascinated by the differences in cultural food. He deserved so much more, both in life and in passing. I became an “adventurous” eater because of him – and was never sorry for my continued experiences.
Remember: You are innocent until proven guilty. Charges were never filed against him. That speaks volumes to those intelligent enough to understand. Let those who judge indiscriminately, say the same and be as loved by as many.
“Hot pan, cold oil, food won’t stick.”, but his memory always will.
Jeff’s books are my “go to” books for never fail recipes. I thank him for a lifetime of good cooking and my “appearance” of being a good cook. One is only as good as the recipe.
God walks with Jeff.
Your food is still served at our table and you made our lives better. Our children still remember you.
I have missed Jeff’s show so very much. Today I am looking for his spinach stuffed large pasta shells and so far have had no luck. I do wish his early shows would be shown again. So, his show was pulled because of allegations. Today we have athletes returning to the public eye after being convicted of various crimes, politicians staying in office after… well, you get the picture. I would love to hear Jeff teach another generation how to be successful in the kitchen and to hear him say, “I bid you peace.”
I can’t believe that the Frug is gone! I don’t know how I missed this news five years ago, but somehow I did. I missed seeing his show on PBS (which I used to watch all the time). I later heard about all the allegations against him, but I can’t believe any of it. He was such a kind and gentle man, and his love for life, family and good cuisine shone through in every show. You will be greatly missed, dear Frugal Gourmet. I will always remember you fondly. I bid you peace!
It saddens me to hear the above praise… These must be the same Tacoma people that, for years, knowingly turned their backs on their children… allowing such heinous events to take place.
The Devil will come smiling…
Thought of Mr. Frugal Gourmet a few months ago but for one reason or another forgot to do asearch. So, now I thought of him again and found this sad news. I think settling with the accusers does not necessarily mean he is guilty of anything. With his personality, that to which he’s accused of is very hard to believe. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed and laughed with the shows that use to air on PBS I think in my high school days. I remember Jeff Smith would come along with I think Martin Yan(Yan Can Cook) – another cool, just darn funny character! Of course, I mean that in a good way! Jeff was taken too young and, having just read the Seattle Times on his passing, that he also got weak in latter stages of his life – sad to hear.
But, hey, you’re up there now and bet you’re cooking up a storm! Will watch you some more on youtube. Thanks for all the laughs and history. My prayers go out to you and your loved ones left behind.
I remember watching all of your cooking shows. I was excited about the places and the stories you had and was saddened to find out today, July 14, 2010 that you had passed so many years ago. I loved seeing you and hearing about your wife and sons. You truly touched us and made us feel like a part of your family. I am greatly saddened by the rumors that ended your career and I don’t believe one of them. I know this must have hurt you and your family greatly. I hope you are cooking up a big batch of something wonderful in Heaven. I will see you there someday and it will be a grand feast, because we could ALMOST smell the food through the tv screen but not quite! Love you Jeff. I bid you and your family peace.
Thank you Mr. Smith for the many hours of joy I had watching your show with my young children who loved you as much as I did. The food was great, but your gentle spirit and joy and your love of cooking is what drew us all to you. I can still hear the music that began and ended each show and remember the richness of it all. God Bless you Jeff Smith.
I enjoyed Jeff Smith’s shows,Mr. Smith helped
foster my love for cooking.I found him highly
entertaining, and the time watching him seemed
to just fly by. I do miss seeing the shows on
PBS. I have something to say to the people who
posted the negative comments I have read. I do
not know if what he did was true or not.He went
to court and things were settled in a court of
law.He denied his guilt.The man is dead.What more
do you want.Leave it alone,if you can’t you have
a problem,you need help. Anyway thanks for all
cooking tips Mr.Smith,R.I.P.
Just like Edgar, I have thought of Jeff Smith many times since he left television. I tried to never miss his show and started watching him and Julia for their calming effects in addition to wanting to pick up cooking techniques and tips. Since then I have come to really enjoy cooking and I credit him, Julia, Justin and a few others with igniting this love of the culinary arts.
We all have our demons. Sometimes those demons are abhorent. I can’t judge the truthfulness of the accusations against him. I can however say that his goodness and genuiness were very apparent to me. I still miss him, Julia and Justin.
Ever notice how illiterate the accusers are? Seems their only claim to fame and fortune is to accuse their betters.Hey, it’s America after all, money rules.
I agree with the others who have pointed out praise is being given to a man who sexually abused many many young boys and how wrong this is. My brother knew this man in the ’90’s while attending Univ of Pudget Sound and he has never been the same. I just learned that Smith was accused of several instances of abuse and now I seriously wonder what he did to my brother. And no, my brother has never sued anybody. He’s probably one of many hundreds of boys who have tried to repress what this man did to them forever trying to hide the scars that are not so invisible. Shame on you Jeff Smith and all those who knew about this and did nothing to stop him.