What Is Julia Child Famous for?

by Jen Kim
Julia Child inspired generations of Americans to cook the French way.

Julia Child inspired generations of Americans to cook the French way.

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Whether you are a professional chef or a budding foodie, you will likely be familiar with the name Julia Child (1912-2004). Child was an accomplished American chef who has been largely credited with introducing French cooking to an American audience with her popular television show, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

Early Career

Child's cooking career began when her husband Paul was stationed in Paris. She began taking classes at the globally-acclaimed Cordon Bleu cooking school and quickly started her own cooking school with fellow classmates, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholie. The school, which was called "The School of the Three Gourmands," aimed to develop a French cookbook for and American audience. This book titled, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," became an instant bestseller and is considered the definitive resource for many chefs.

Cooking Show

While promoting her book on-air in Boston, Child charmed audiences with her sense of humor and her omelet-preparation skills. The television station soon offered her a cooking series on the WGBH network in 1962. She accepted the opportunity, along with a $50 per-show payment. The series was called "The French Chef" and became syndicated in more than 90 stations across America. In addition to hosting "The French Chef," Child also hosted other television programs and specials, such as: "Julia Child and Company," "Julia Child and More Company," and "Dinner at Julia's"


"The French Chef" series earned Child a George Foster Peabody Award (1964) as well as an Emmy Award (1966). At 88 years old, Child was honored with the Legion d'Honneur, the highest award in France. She was recognized for more than 40 years of work in making fine French food accessible to an international audience. The International Association of Culinary Professionals also includes a category called The Julia Child Cookbook award in its annual Cookbook Awards. The Julia Child award is presented to a promising first-time author.

Julia and Julia

Years after her passing, Child made her way back into the limelight in the 2009 film, "Julie and Julia." Meryl Streep played the iconic chef. The film is based on two bestselling books -- Child's "My Life in France" along with Julie Powell's "Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen." The film juxtaposes Child's struggles to begin her career and publish her book, as well as Powell attempts to cook all 524 recipes from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," while blogging about her daily efforts and progress. The popular blog, titled "The Julie/Julia Project" quickly became a cultural phenomenon and was published into a book.

About the Author

Since 2008, Jen Kim has been a professional writer and blogger, working for national publications such as Psychology Today and Chicago Tribune affiliates. She holds a Master of Science in journalism from Northwestern University.

Photo Credits

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