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Beard House Founder Peter Kump Dies

June 15, 1995|Russ Parsons | TIMES DEPUTY FOOD EDITOR

Peter Kump, president of Peter Kump's New York Cooking School and a founder and president of the James Beard Foundation, died last week in New York at the age of 57.

Kump, recently selected by Nation's Restaurant News as one of 50 people who make a difference in cooking, died of liver cancer.

He was born in Fresno and moved to Switzerland at 15, where he developed his love of food. A graduate of Stanford University, Kump founded and ran a theater company for several years. He also was national director of education for Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics in the late '60s and taught speed reading to many members of the Nixon White House, including John Dean, John Ehrlichman, Jeb Stuart Magruder, Rosemary Woods and Ron Ziegler.

After taking cooking classes from Simone "Simca" Beck at James Beard's cooking school, Kump decided to begin teaching classes himself. He opened his cooking school in 1974 in his apartment kitchen. In 1979, he started teaching a six-week professional course, which has now grown into a 20-week program through which more than 20,000 students have been trained.

Kump was a former president of the International Assn. of Culinary Professionals, and was instrumental in setting up the series of fund-raising events that established the James Beard Foundation.

The foundation, now an active center of New York's culinary life, will award $140,000 in scholarships this year. In May of 1991, the group presented the first of its annual James Beard Awards for food writers and chefs.

Kump is survived by his son Christopher, who, with his wife Margaret Fox, runs Cafe Beaujolais in Mendocino.

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