Influences: Julia Child

Photo: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

When I was little, I remember the TV would always be set to PBS for Sesame Street. I can’t recall any particular detail of a Sesame Street episode, but I do remember being mesmerized by Julia Child when the The French Chef came on right after.

Every knife cut or shift of the pan was done with such a level of skill and confidence, but in a way that made it feel equal parts expertise and improvisation.

No matter the outcome, because of the authority and control she exuded, it was meant to be that way.

Not until I was older did I realize my favorite part of watching her cook; when making a dish that called for red wine, she would always add to the dish and then fill up a waiting glass for herself as well.

She showed me the joy that is cooking, especially for others and from that point on, I wanted to do what she did.

“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”

I was resigned to learn how to cook, but my ultimate goal was to learn how to do so fearlessly just like her.

Julia Child's Kitchen on display at the National Museum of American History

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients.”

It got to the point where 4-year-old me was watching way more of The French Chef than Sesame Street and everyone that asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I was told without hesitation, a chef!

..and just because, when looking up her quotes I found one I hadn’t seen before, but it makes me love her even more. This is what she had to say about her first meal in France:

“The whole experience was an opening up of the soul and spirit for me…I was hooked, and for life, as it turned out.”