Celebrating Julia Child’s 100th Birthday

Born Aug. 15, 1912, Julia Child was one of America's most influential chefs. As her 100th birthday approaches, let us take a look back at how she got started. Child’s television programs, "The French Chef," "Julia Child and Company," "Julia Child and More Company," "Cooking with the Master Chefs" and "Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home" helped expose Americans to the art of French cooking.

At six-foot-and-two-inches, the towering chef already stood out. In fact, on the sets of her shows the counter tops were designed so that she wouldn’t have to crouch down while cooking. Child was anything but average. Her quirky methods of cooking, great sense of humor and fearlessness of failing helped her share her passion for cooking with the world.

However, Child did not pursue her joy of cooking until age 36. She and her husband Paul were living in France when Child enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Instantly, she immersed herself in French culture. Her most notable cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," which she collaborated on with fellow female chefs Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle remains a holy grail among chefs to this day.

To celebrate what would have been Child’s 100th birthday, below are some upcoming events in and around D.C., on television and online commemorating her.

AUGUST

On pinterest.com, a board in honor of Julia Child has been set up by the New York Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the premier organization for professional women in the food, wine, and hospitality industries. Pinterest allows users to share content including images, video, and other creative material by “pinning” these images onto their pinboard. The Julia Child Pinterest board aims to pin 100 photos and tributes of her in order to share with fans around the world.

AUGUST 5

PBS will broadcast original episodes of “The French Chef,” which has not aired since the 1960s. Viewers are encouraged to follow these episodes by making their own creation of a classic Julia Child dish and sharing their creations by posting photos to PBS Food on Twitter, using the hashtag #CookforJulia. In addition, an encore presentation of the special “Julia Child Memories: Bon Appétit!” will air, as well as comments and testimonials regarding Julia from well-respected food industry people around the nation.

AUGUST 7-15, 13-19

RIS restaurant will pay homage to Julia Child all month as part of its “All Thing Julia” tribute. Coinciding with D.C. Restaurant Week (August 13-19), “All Things Julia” at RIS will offer a traditional $20.12 lunch menu and $35.12 dinner menu with Child’s incomparable dishes. Additionally, RIS will also participate in National Julia Child Restaurant Week, which is hosted by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy & the Culinary Arts. Be sure to ask the bartender for Child’s classic “reverse martinis.” For updates on “All Things Julia,” visit risdc.com and call 202.730.2500 to make a reservation. 2275 L St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20037.

AUGUST 8

At the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian, join biographer Bob Spitz, 7 to 8:30 p.m., as he discusses the impact of Julia Child at “Julia Child’s Bon Appétit for Life.” Following the lecture, Spitz will be available to sign copies of his latest book "Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child" after the program. Tickets cost $25. For more information, call 202-633-3030, or visit smithsonianassociates.org. 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW, Washington, D.C. 20560.

AUGUST 15

If you are looking for a more hands-on approach to this centennial, Sur La Table is hosting a cooking class at its restaurant, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Using recipes from Child’s classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," an instructor will assist you in recreating some of Julia’s most popular dishes. At $69 per person, what better way to celebrate than to be like one of America’s most beloved chefs herself? Visit surlatable.com for more information or call 202.237.0375. 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington, Va. 22202.

AUGUST 15- SEPTEMBER 3

Celebrate Julia Child’s centenary by planning a trip to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to visit her actual kitchen. Donated to the Smithsonian in 2001, the 14-by- 20-foot kitchen from her Massachusetts home features every cooking amenity imaginable, including the kitchen sink. Find out more at americanhistory. si.edu/juliachild. 1400 Constitution Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004.★

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