Remembering Female Chef Julia Child

Celebrating Julia Child Women's History Month In honor of Women’s History Month, we will be spotlighting Women of the Culinary Arts, from our past and present. Those who have made history, and those that are making history. We begin with Julia Child.

Most have heard of Julia Child or even watched some of her TV shows ~ The French Chef, Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company, and Dinner at Julia’s.

She  had a remarkable career and is remembered as bringing French cuisines to mainstream America.  She  won a host of awards, and she was the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame in 1993.

Julia Child was born Julia McWilliams on August 15, 1912 in Pasadena
California. Her parents, John and Julia Carolyn McWilliams were quite wealthy.  Julia has a privileged childhood and attended Smith College in Massachusetts in 1930.

Since Julia was 6 foot 2 inches tall and was unable to enlist in the Women’s Army Corps and the US Navy because she was too tall, she moved to Washington DC and volunteered at the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).  During this time she met Paul Child, who was also in the OSS and the two were married in 1946.

In 1948, Paul was sent to Paris, France and this is where Julia’s love for French Cuisine began.  Julia Child enrolled at the Le Cordon Blue cooking school.  Next she joined with fellow classmates Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and they created the L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes (School of the Three Gourmets) cooking school.

Of course we all know what followed, the famous collaboration on the 734-page cookbook entitled, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”  This groundbreaking book was released in 1961, and for 5 years running it was the best selling cookbook. While promoting this book on public television in Boston, where Julia prepared an omelet, she was invited back to do her own cooking series.

“The French Chef” TV cooking show was born and debuted on WGBH in 1962, and the rest as they say, is history.  If you have ever had the pleasure to watch one of Julia’s shows, you know how enthusiastic she was about cooking and she truly was a marvel in the kitchen. Julia Child donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History where you may view the exhibit, Bon Appétit.

Julia Child’s legacy will live on through her wonderful television shows and awesome cookbooks.  

What’s your favorite Julia Child’s memory or recipe?