With a dozen cookbooks to her credit and untold hours of delightful television shows, she demonstrated her mastery of French cooking with unparalleled grace.
Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California, and graduated from Smith College in 1934. After college she worked in publicity and advertising in New York, and during World War II, she served with the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and China. After the war, at the end of 1948, her husband, Paul Child, was assigned to the U.S. Information Service at the American Embassy in Paris, and Julia enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School. There she met her two French colleagues, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and they subsequently opened a cooking school, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, which resulted in their joint book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961.
Julia and Paul eventually returned to the States, and after a television interview at WGBH-Boston, the station asked Julia to try out a series of TV cooking shows, and The French Chef was born on February 11, 1963. After some 200 programs on classical French cooking, she branched out into contemporary cuisine with the television series Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company and Dinner at Julia's. In 1984 she completed six The Way to Cook teaching videos.
Julia was host for the PBS series Cooking with Master Chefs with a different well-known chef for each of the programs, and also for the series Baking with Julia. She also participated in a technique-based series with Jacques Pépin called Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. The companion cookbook has been on bestseller lists throughout the U.S.
Julia Child's books include Mastering the Art of French Cooking; The Way to Cook; The French Chef Cookbook; Baking With Julia; From Julia's Kitchen; Julia's Delicious Little Dinners; In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs; Julia's Casual Dinners; Julia's Menus for Special Occasions; Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home; Julia's Breakfasts, Lunches, and Suppers; and Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking.
Julia Child received honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College, Rutgers University, Smith College and Harvard University. She was elected a member of the Confrérie de Ceres for her work on French bread and was a member of the American chapter of the Commandérie des Cordons Bleus de France. She was awarded two national Emmys: in 1995 for her Master Chefs series and in 1997 for Baking with Julia. In 1999 she received the Peabody Award from Public Television.
Mrs. Child was an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and a co-founder of the American Institute of Wine & Food. She died in 2004.