For many home chefs, Julia Child is the mother of the culinary world. She is a trailblazer as a home chef that started her culinary profession later in life and with little to no training. She gave all of us female home chefs the inspiration to experiment and play in the kitchen. But, what do we really know about this incredible trailblazer?
Julia Child before The French Chef
Julia was born in Pasadena, California to John McWilliams Jr and Julia Carolyn Weston. Her family was not short on funds as her father was a highly regarded land manager and her mother was an heiress to a paper company. Her family hired on a cook though Julia did not spend time observing her.
Julia attended polytechnic school before eventually receiving an education at a boarding school, Kathrine Branson school. She was tall or a girl and she was drawn to sports such as tennis and golf.
Julia went on to attend and graduate from Smith College with a major in history.
Julia spent some time in New York City as a copywriter before attempting to serve her country during the second world war. First, she tried to join the Women’s Army Corps then she attempted to enlist in the U.S. Navy’s WAVES, both of which turned her down for being too tall. However, all was not lost. She began to serve as a typist for the OSS in Washington until they felt her education and experience could be better utilized as a top-secret researcher for General William J. Donovan. This career path would turn out to introduce her to her future husband.
Julia met Paul Cushing Child while they both worked for the OSS. Paul and Julia were married in 1946 and never had children. He was familiar with living and working in Paris and he introduced Julia to hat lifestyle as well as his palate for fine French cuisine. Paul would be stationed in Paris in 1948 and Julia would start experimenting with French cooking.
Julia attended the infamous culinary school, Cordon Bleu, in Paris and graduated in 1951.
The French Chef, Julia Child
After assisting in the creation of several cookbooks, Julia went on to write articles, books, and other publishings. Much of her written work discussed her life with Paul intertwined with her cooking and other life events.
Julia began her television career after doing a book review and omelet demonstration for NET (now called PBS). From there she launched her cooking show and several cookbooks.
Through her nearly unedited cooking show, Julia was able to connect with housewives everywhere in a way that other television shows didn’t. Why? Julia Child reigned before the feminist movement began and her cooking show unintentionally shined a light on some of the issues women were dealing with. It helped them feel as though their issues were not only validated but normal.
Julia Child lives on
Child ended up being a member of several television shows, cookbooks and also founded the American Institute of Wine and Food. Julia also began the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts. Her kitchen and several of her pieces are on display in museums such as the Smithsonian. Julia will live on because of the cookbooks and trailblazing advances she made for women as well as the creation of her foundation and the overall legacy that she earned while on this earth. This legacy includes the following awards and accolades listed on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Child:
- 1965: Peabody Award for Personal Award for The French Chef
- 1966: Emmy for Achievements in Educational Television- Individuals for The French Chef
- 1980: U.S. National Book Awards for Current Interest (hardcover) for Julia Child and More Company
- 1996: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs
- 2001: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home
- 1972: Emmy for Special Classification of Outstanding Program and Individual Achievement – General Programming for The French Chef
- 1994: Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series for Cooking with Master Chefs
- 1997: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Baking with Julia
- 1999: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Baking with Julia
- 2000: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home