American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie

Production Bios

Air date: 05/19/2017

American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie

Premieres nationwide Friday, May 19, 9-10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)


Production Bios


Beth Federici

Producer and Director, American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie

Beth Federici is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and television producer. Most recently, she co-directed and produced the feature documentary Space, Land and Time: Underground Adventures with Ant Farm, for which she was awarded the 2010 Cine Golden Eagle Award. Her credits also include the documentary Neither Here Nor There (co-director/producer/editor), which was awarded the Best of the Heartland award at the Kansas City Film Festival and was broadcast on Missouri PBS; and the award-winning concert film Bauhaus Gotham. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Federici is also a dedicated media educator, teaching media literacy theory and media production skills to students all over the country. She currently works as an independent producer, editor and educator in Portland, Oregon.

Kathleen Squires

Co- Producer, American Masters – James Beard: America’s First Foodie

Kathleen’s 25-year career has spanned book, blog, newsprint and glossy, with hundreds of published works ranging from restaurant reviews to travel features to award-winning cookbooks. Kathleen’s work appears in The Wall Street Journal, Details, Saveur, Cooking Light,,, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Daily News, The New York Post and Time Out New York, among many other publications. Kathleen is also the co-author of the cookbooks The Coolhaus Ice Cream Book (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin), Stuart O’Keeffe’s The Quick Six Fix (Morrow), The Journey (Alta Editions), for which she was awarded the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) prize for best e-Cookbook in 2014 and the upcoming Guide to Greens with Jenn Louis. Kathleen was also a 2015 nominee for the IACP Bert Greene Award for Excellence in Food Journalism for her work in the Wall Street Journal.

Michael Kantor

American Masters Series Executive Producer

For more than two decades, award-winning filmmaker Michael Kantor has created outstanding arts programs for television. He joined American Masters as the series’ executive producer in April 2014 during its 28th season on PBS, and founded its theatrical imprint American Masters Pictures in January 2016. American Masters Pictures was represented by three films at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival: Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise and Richard Linklater – dream is destiny.

Prior to joining American Masters, his PBS documentary series Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle (2013), hosted by Liev Schreiber, was nominated for an Emmy Award. Random House published the companion book. Kantor’s Peabody Award-winning film Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (2013) aired as part of the Great Performances series on PBS. Narrated by Joel Grey, it included performances by Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, David Hyde Pierce, Marc Shaiman and many other Broadway talents. In 2012, Kantor produced The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater with Michael Tilson Thomas, which aired on PBS and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy. Kantor served as executive producer of the special Give Me the Banjo, hosted by Steve Martin, and created Make ’Em Laugh: The Funny Business of America (2009), the critically acclaimed six-part documentary series hosted by Billy Crystal. His script for episode four, When I’m Bad, I’m Better: The Groundbreakers, co-authored with Laurence Maslon, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. His landmark six-part series Broadway: The American Musical was hosted by Julie Andrews and honored with the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series in 2005. That same year, he created three hours of DVD extras for 20th Century Fox’s 40th anniversary release of The Sound of Music.

Kantor wrote, directed and produced the award-winning profile American Masters: Quincy Jones: In the Pocket. With Stephen Ives, he co-directed Cornerstone: An Interstate Adventure for HBO, and produced The West (executive producer Ken Burns). His 20 years of work in documentaries include projects as varied as EGG: the arts show, Coney Island, The Donner Party, Margaret Sanger and Ric Burns’ New York series. As a writer, Kantor created Lullaby of Broadway: Opening Night on 42nd Street, co-authored the companion books to Broadway (Bulfinch) and Make ’Em Laugh (Grand Central Publishing) and has published numerous essays and articles. He is president of Almo Inc., a company that distributes the American Film Theatre series, which includes Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance (starring Katharine Hepburn), Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh (Lee Marvin) and Chekhov’s Three Sisters (Laurence Olivier) among its titles. Kantor has served as a Tony nominator and taught documentary filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and lives in Scarsdale, New York.