Julia Child: Author and Teacher, Cambridge MA
Julia Child was born Julia McWilliams, in Pasadena, California. After she graduated from Smith College in 1934, she spent several years in advertising and publicity, and joined the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Her war career took her to Washington, DC, Southeast Asia, and China, where she met her husband, Paul Child. Following their marriage in 1946, Paul joined the U.S. Information Service in Washington, and they were eventually sent to Paris, where Julia began her culinary career at Le Cordon Bleu. After more than 4 years in Paris they were stationed in Marseilles, then in Germany; and Paul ended his diplomatic career in Norway. From Paul's death in 1994 until the fall of 2001, Julia spent winters in her native California and summers at their longtime home in Cambridge, Massachssetts until moving to Santa Barbara permanently in 2002.
While in Paris, in 1949, Julia met Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and joined the French gastronomical society, Le Club des Gourmettes. Later the three women opened their cooking school, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, and began work on their first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which was eventually published in 1961.
By this time, the Childs had returned to America and settled in the Boston area where Julia taped her first in the PBS television series "The French Chef," which aired in February 1963. In the spring of 1965 Julia Child received the George Foster Peabody Award for Distinguished Achievement in Television, and in 1966 was the first Public Television personality to win an Emmy. After some 200 programs in classical French cooking, she branched out into contemporary cuisine with the television series "Julia Child and Company," followed by "Dinner at Julia's." In 1972 she received an Emmy nomination, and was awarded Emmys in 1995 for the "Master Chef" Series and in 1997 for "Baking with Julia." In 1984, with WGBH, she completed six one-hour teaching videocassettes, "The Way to Cook," published by Alfred A. Knopf. In 1999 she received the Ralph Lowell Award for Programming Excellence from Public Television. Further, she was elected a member of the prestigious National Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In addition to national repeats of the PBS series, other television appearances have been with such national shows as "David Letterman, "Good Morning America," and "Rosie O’Donnell." Julia has been featured on the Television Food Network, and serves as host to the Master Chef series, which appears on Public Television stations nationwide. The first 26 episodes, "Cooking with Master Chefs," were taped in chefs' home kitchens, while the next two series were done in Julia’s own kitchen. "In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs" was followed by "Baking With Julia," which was accompanied by a large, fully illustrated book authored by Dorrie Greenspan and published by William Morrow & Company. In her latest television series, she teams up with Jacques Pépin in Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, accompanied by a book and video series of the same name. Geof Drummond and A La Carte Communications have produced all of these series as well as the videos for the Julia and Jacques program.
Her own books include Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), The French Chef Cookbook (1968), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. II, co-authored with Simone Beck, (1970), From Julia Child's Kitchen (1977), Julia Child & Company (1979), Julia Child & More Company (1980). From 1982 to 1986 she authored a monthly cooking column in Parade Magazine, the photographs for which formed the pictorial basis for her large, illustrated basic book, The Way to Cook. These books are published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Her last book, Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom, an aide memoir for the home cook, was published by Knopf in the fall of 2000 to accompany the PBS special, "Julia Child’s Kitchen Wisdom," produced by A La Carte Communications. This delightful special includes snippets from a goodly number of her television shows dating back to the very first one, "Beef Bourguignon," in February 1963.
Mrs. Child was interviewed and written about in such publications as Time, Life, Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, TV Guide, USA Today, US News and World Report, Newsday, The New York Times and appeared on numerous national radio and television shows such as Larry King Live, Fresh Air, The Johnny Carson Show, the Phil Donahue Show, A&E Biography, and Charlie Rose. She received honorary degrees from Bates College, Rutgers, Smith College, Harvard University, Brown University, and Boston University, and was made an honorary member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Radcliffe College. She was elected a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and was awarded the French Ordre de Mérite Agricole, Ordre de Mérite Nationale, and Confrérie de Cèrés.
Mrs. Child was very much committed not only to the furthering of gastronomy as a recognized discipline, but also to the encouragement of young people to enter the profession. To this end she was an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, was an honorary trustee of COPIA — The American Center for Wine, Food, and the Arts in Napa Valley, and was particularly involved with The American Institute of Wine & Food, of which she was one of the founders. The Institute is a non-profit educational organization established in 1981, whose object is to advance the understanding, appreciation, and quality of wine and food.
Julia Child revolutionized the way Americans think about cooking and appreciate food. She had a major influence on our American lifestyle through her television series, books, national appearances, and involvement with all levels of the culinary world.