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Chef Julia Child

Celebrity Chef

Julia Child revolutionized the culinary world with her lively personality and fine, but approachable cooking style. Through her cookbooks and television shows, she empowered Americans to cook by encouraging them to prepare and enjoy food.

Childhood

Julia Carolyn McWilliams was born in Pasadena, California, on August 15, 1912 to parents: John and Caro McWilliams. As a child, Julia was known for her social, outgoing personality. When she was a teenager, Julia headed off to boarding school in the San Francisco Bay Area where she studied French and further developed her writing skills.

Education

Julia attended Smith College where she majored in history. After school, Julia tried her hand at a number of careers before settling in on an administrative job in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)--the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It was in this job that Julia met her future husband, Paul Cushing Child, a fellow OSS employee.

Paul was a foodie, and encouraged Julia to become one as well. The couple was married after WWII, and Julia and Paul returned to Washington where she became a housewife at the age of 34.

Julia and Paul later moved to Paris where Julia's interest in food deepened. At the encouragement of her husband, Julia enrolled in formal training at Le Cordon Bleu, a renowned culinary school in Paris.

Cookbooks & Television

Julia's first cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, became a best seller and led to her making an appearance on a book review show. Here, she did a simple cooking demonstration that was wildly popular and inspired The French Chef, her educational television series which ended up running for 6 years.

Julia's show was one of the first of its kind, and helped her grow into American Icon status. Julia went on to star in a number of other cooking shows including: In Julia's Kitchen With Master Chefs, Baking with Julia, and Julia and Jacques: Cooking At Home -all of which were filmed in Julia's home kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Julia was passionate about sharing her love of cooking and thought of her television shows as her classroom. Her goal was to make all home chefs feel comfortable and confident in the kitchen-even when preparing fine foods and intimidating recipes.