Julia Child: The Culinary TV Star

Standing at a towering height of 188cm with an equally great sense of humor and love of food, Julia Child opened the way to television for all chefs. Although she never ran a restaurant, she has entered the canon of chef legends, all thanks to her amazing biography and love for the kitchen.

photo: Instagram The Julia Child Foundation @juliachildfoundation

The threat of spinsterhood

Born Julia McWilliams in Pasadena, California, she grew up in a privileged family and attended Smith College. In the 1930s, she had to find a husband quickly or put up with the label “spinster”. Since the careers of unmarried women were limited to office work or teaching, Julia chose the former. She tried her hand as a shorthand typist, worked as a copywriter for a while, and after her mother died, she returned to her family home and took care of her father. When she heard about World War II, she was happy, as it meant she would be able to get out of the house. During World War II, Julia worked for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the CIA, where she met her future husband, Paul Child, who also worked there. There was no love at first sight. It matures with time, just like Julia’s taste buds. Together they were in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and in China. After the war, the couple, already married, settled in Paris, where Paul represented America.

“Widower of Cordon Bleu”

Julia quickly fell in love with French food. Her experiences prompted her to enroll in the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. So, at the age of 31, Julia began to cook. She devoted herself to her passion without neglecting her husband and celebrating their love. In 1960, they returned to the United States.

The Lady from the TV

In 1961, Julia published her groundbreaking cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, which she worked on for 10 years. This is how Child popularized French cooking and introduced American home cooks to classic French dishes and techniques.The book was a tremendous success and paved the way for her television career. She became the host of the TV show “The French Chef,” which aired from 1963 to 1973. It was one of the pioneering cooking shows on television. In the beginning, the production had such a limited budget that volunteers were recruited to wash the dishes, and the cooked dishes were even auctioned off after the recordings to partially cover the costs. No one expected the show to run for 10 years, and the crew received both a Peabody and an Emmy! While recording the next seasons, Julia came up with the idea to collect the recipes in another book under the same title.

For the rest of her life, she wrote cookbooks and appeared on television, becoming an inspiration to both home cooks and professional chefs. She was also known for her humor, wit, and above-average personality. She remained an advocate of good food and cooking until her death in 2004 at the age of 91.

photo: Instagram The Julia Child Foundation @juliachildfoundation


Her memory was revived thanks to Julie Powell’s blog, where the woman tried to recreate the recipes of the legend. Julia Child expressed her disapproval of Julia Powell’s design. “Well, she just doesn’t seem very serious, does she?” she said in a press interview. Despite the reluctance of the icon, a year after Child’s death, Julie Powell’s book “Julie and Julia: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” was published. And a few years later, a biographical film about the lives of both ladies was made – “Julie & Julia”.

Eternal love quadrangle

Julia Child divided her time between cooking, Paul, and Provence, where she spent six months each year. She traveled between France, Massachusetts, and California, where she died in 2004. Julia Child’s legacy continues to influence the world of cooking and culinary culture, and she is remembered as one of the most beloved and influential chefs of all time. Although nowadays her recipes may seem old-fashioned, her place among other icons of the culinary world is indisputable.


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