Julia Child, born Julia Carolyn McWilliams - celebrated chef, author, and television personality - is the subject of the latest Google doodle around most of the world, even as Google celebrates Independence Day in India.
Julia Child is recognised for introducing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963.
Born in Pasadena, California on August 15, 1912, Julia was the eldest of three children. She moved to Paris after marriage, and it was in the French capital that her culinary journey began. She attended the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and later studied privately with Max Bugnard and other master chefs.
Julia Child described her first meal in Rouen (northern France) as a culinary revelation, calling it "an opening up of the soul and spirit for me." She joined the women's cooking club Cercle des Gourmettes, through which she met Simone Beck, who was writing a French cookbook for Americans with her friend Louisette Bertholle. Beck proposed that Child work with them, to make the book appeal to Americans.
The three were to setup L'école des trois gourmandes (The School of the Three Food Lovers) in 1951, to teach cooking to American women in Paris. Their writing dream was put on hold for a while, and it wasn't until 1961 that the 734-page Mastering the Art of French Cooking finally hit the shelves. The book became an instant success, and was popular with the audience as well as the critics.
Riding on the success of the book, Julia Child landed her own TV show in 1963 with The French Chef. The show was one of the first cooking shows on television, and proved to be another smash-hit for Childs, running for 10 years. Reruns of the show continued to be shown even longer.
Julia Child authored other books like The French Chef Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two, and From Julia Child's Kitchen. She also starred in various TV shows like Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company, and Dinner at Julia's. Her 1979 book Julia Child and More Company she won a National Book Award in category Current Interest. During those years she also produced her 'masterpiece', a book and instructional video series collectively entitled The Way To Cook, which was published in 1989.
Child won various Emmy Awards, Daytime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award as well as a U.S. National Book Award. After the death of her beloved friend Simone Beck, Child retired from active life in June 1992.
On August 13, 2004, Julia Child died of kidney failure at her retirement community home, Casa Dorinda, in Montecito, two days before her 92nd birthday. Child ended her last book, My Life in France, with "... thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite - toujours bon appétit!"
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