by Kate Heyhoe
"For years he (but very rarely she), the chef, was considered, an artisan, not an artist. Professional cooking was a career, but it was not looked upon by the public as an honored profession...Now, some twenty years later (after Escoffier), chefs and cooks and American cuisine are indeed news."
from "In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs"
In June 1996 the electronic Gourmet Guide celebrated Julia Child, both in our monthly Web edition and on our America Online culinary network. She, more than anyone else, has contributed to bringing chefs today into an honored, well-respected and burgeoning profession.
Recently, I attended the The Julia Child Awards in Philadelphia, where Julia was joined by Graham Kerr in honoring the best books of 1995, as selected by members of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Photos of this event are included in this article. A few days later, Julia Child herself was honored at the James Beard Awards for her splendid book and video series, both entitled "In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs."
While this companion set features an exciting array of leading chefs, we wanted to take a look at Julia herself by sharing with you those fundamental cooking tips that Julia herself espouses (listen for her voice as you read them). This is the woman, after all, whose teachings actually helped mold these younger chefs, contributing to who and what they are today. Many of today's culinary professionals, whether they be of national fame or behind-the-scenes talent, clearly were influenced by Julia, and many might never have considered entering the field had it not been for seeing her. Do you realize that her first televised appearances as the Emmy-winning French Chef occurred in 1963? and that she made the cover of Time magazine's Thanksgiving issue in 1966 ("the Lady with the Ladle")? Indeed, a large part of what she did to enlarge the exposure of the culinary profession came about because of her own use of the television medium. Just as JFK's success was largely attributed to being the first TV president, so too did Julia's entry into American households through mass media help make her and all chefs true and honored stars today.
Television, though, has been but one vehicle to bring Julia in contact with the public. Her numerous books, magazine articles, public appearances, her CD-ROM, Julia Child Home Cooking with Master Chefs (Microsoft) and her many speaking engagements are all evidence of her ability to operate in any medium, a rare gift indeed. Her completely egalitarian nature shines through in everything she does and for this, she has become admired by even the non-foodie audiences. Average Americans may not know what a julienne is, but I guarantee they know the name of Julia Child. How many times I have heard someone react to her name by gleefully imitating her characteristic voice and launching in with "First you take the chicken...." This is not a derogatory response in any way, but rather quite the opposite: a reflection of the warm and very human imprint she has left on the collective American psyche, an indication of how much she has endeared herself to us all.
On Wednesday, June 5, 1996 Julia Child opened another door—to our culinary audience on America Online. Julia was joined by two other culinary and literary talents, Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, who went by screenname BACsters. The BACsters hosted the "Chef's Dinner Club" on the original electronic Gourmet Guide (aka eGG) on AOL and won a James Beard Award for their book "Becoming A Chef."
IN JULIA'S KITCHEN WITH MASTER CHEFS
by Julia Child
Photographs by Michael McLaughlin
U.S.A. $35.00, Canada $49.00 (Hardcover)
Alfred A. Knopf
(Reprinted with permission.)
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