When we think of French American cuisine, there is often one individual who comes to mind: Julia Child. The famous author, chef and television personality is credited for making French cuisine more accessible to American cooks. In honor of her great contributions to the world of cooking, let’s take a look at the life of this iconic chef thanks to The Julia Child Foundation.
Early Beginnings With Julia Child
Julia Child is truly a national, and dare we say, an international treasure. From her early beginnings, the culinary world was never to be the same.
Julia was born in 1912 in Pasadena, California, and was the oldest of three children. After graduating from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1934 she moved to Manhattan to pursue a writing career as a copywriter with the W. & J. Sloane company. Her end goal was to become a novelist.
In 1942, she became a typist for the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, D.C., to aid in World War II efforts. In 1944, Julia would become the chief of the Office Strategic Services registry. Around this time, she meets her husband Paul.
After the war, they announce their marriage and Julia enrolls in a Los Angeles cooking school to prepare for married life. It is when Paul becomes stationed in Paris that Julia’s love for French cuisine comes to life.
A Chef After All
According to the Julia Child Foundation, Paul explained that Julia was not the best cook. But upon taking up residency in France, Julia enrolled in the famous Le Cordon Bleu where after a rough start, she thrives. She graduated from the esteemed program in April 1951.
A Writer, Chef, and TV Personality: Julia Child
Julia becomes acquainted with two French women, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, who were looking for an American contributor to their cookbook, targeted at bringing French cuisine to American households. Julia joins them, and the three begin a cooking school, L’Ecole Des Trois Gourmandes.
In 1958, after many rejections of the cookbook’s manuscript, the book lands on the desk of Alfred Knopf who takes a chance on the creation. In 1961, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One is published.
In 1963, Julia’s life took another turn, when she began her own show, “The French Chef.” More than 350 episodes were filmed. In 1966, Julia earns an Emmy award for Achievement in Educational Television–a first in history. In that same year, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine. In 1967, she was awarded the L’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, the French National Order of Agricultural Merit.
Julia’s second cookbook, The French Chef Cookbook, is published in 1968. Pulling back from her busy schedule to be with Paul as his health began to fail, Julia published another book, From Julia Child’s Kitchen, in 1975.
Julia adds to her achievements when she receives the L’Ordre National du Mérite in 1976. Soon after, she begins receiving honorary degrees from 10 institutions for her contributions. Julia also begins a new television program on PBS, “Julia Child & Company” as well as a companion cookbook. In the 1980s, Julia would also be featured on “Good Morning America” often.
More television shows and cookbooks would be in Julia’s future to add to her esteemed career. In 1993, Julia would be the first woman inducted into The Culinary Institute of America’s Hall of Fame. After the death of her husband, Julia continues to teach and learn. In 1995, Julia starts The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. More Emmy awards would be added to Julia’s shelf along with another French national achievement. In 2003, Julia is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush.
Julia passed away after a battle with kidney failure in August 2004. In 2006, her memoir is published.
French American Cuisine: Thank You, Julia Child
Want to check out one of the dishes Julia calls, “one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man”? Check out the history of beef bourguignon.
Want to try French American Cuisine Right in NEPA? Stop by Le Manhattan Bistro!
Have you always wanted to experience the foods of France but don’t have the budget to leave Wilkes-Barre? Le Manhattan Bistro is the place for you. With exquisite dishes prepared by our own executive chef Jonathan Minor, your taste buds will have a fanciful experience.
Reserve your table today to enjoy some of the best fine dining Wilkes-Barre has to offer.
We look forward to serving you outstanding cuisine at all of our fine establishments: