In 2009, Columbia Pictures released the comedy-drama Julie and Julia, a film which portrayed the lives of two women, Julia Child and Julie Powell. Julia Child is dubbed as The French Chef, after having introduced the wonders of French cuisine to mainstream America through her cookbooks and TV shows beginning in 1961. Julie Powell on the other hand is a blogger who made it her mission in 2002 to cook all the 524 recipes in Julia Childs book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and documenting her daily experiences on her blog. Meryl Streep played the role of Julia, while Amy Adams appeared as Julie and the movie was received well by the critics and movie-goers world wide.
Lets get to know a little bit about The French Chef who is an icon in the field of culinary arts and has become close to the hearts of millions of people all over the world.
Julia Child was born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, California on August 15, 1912. Child was into sports when she was young, playing tennis, gold and basketball until she graduated from Smith College with an Arts degree in History. Child moved to New York City after college and worked as a copywriter for the home-furnishing firm W.J. Sloane. After working for four years in the advertising industry, she began a career in the Office of Strategic Services as a typist and later on became a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence Division. In 1944 she was assigned to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to work on filing and relaying volumes of highly classified information for the OSSs stations in Asia.
After the war she went to Paris to attend Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and later studied under the tutelage of master chefs. In a womens cooking club Child met Simone Beck who was then writing a French cookbook for an American audience with her friend Louisette Bertholle. The three began to form a partnership and researched and tested hundreds of recipes. The manuscript of their recipes was later on published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf. The 734-page Mastering the Art of French Cooking became a best seller, due in part to the growing interest of Americans in French culture.
In 1963, Julias cooking show The French Chef debuted on television. Though she was not the first cook to have a show, she was the one who attracted the most number of viewers with her distinct cheeriness and charming manner. The show was on the air for ten years and won a Peabody and an Emmy award. Child released The French Chef Cookbook which contained the recipes she cooked on her show, and afterwards Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, again in collaboration with Simone Beck but not with Bertholle.
She authored one more book entitled From Julia Childs Kitchen and produced a book and instructional video series she called The Way To Cook in 1989. From the 1970s to the 1990s, Julia starred in numerous TV programs such as Julia Child and Company, Dinner at Julias, In Julias Kitchen with Master Chefs and Baking with Julia. Her very own kitchen at her home in Cambridge was even converted into a TV set with all the quality lighting and cameras.
Julia Childs last book was My Life in France which was published in 2006, two years after her death. The autobiography was co-written with her husband Pauls great grand nephew, Alex Prudhomme. Her life was truly lived to the fullest and what is more noteworthy, aside from going through so many things in life, is that she didnt fail to share her wonderful experiences with others, most especially her love for cooking.
A little trivia: Did you know that Julia Child was a towering 62 (1.88m) tall?! Her height is the reason why she was not allowed to enlist in the Womens Army Corps and she ended up in the Office of Strategic Services.