“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child
You know you’ve made a huge contribution to the culinary world when your entire kitchen is assembled in the Smithsonian for all to enjoy. Every pot, pan, knife and appliance is just as it was in Julia Childs kitchen.
Julia taught millions over the years through her cooking shows and cookbooks. While I am no French chef, growing up I watched hour after hour of The French Chef on PBS before cooking shows were ever in vogue. I don’t know how much of it was Julia’s influence but I love to eat, to cook, to collect and read cookbooks, meet my favorite chefs and to take pictures of food. Quirky I know. As I look back at her life and her legacy on what would have been her 100th Birthday, these are a few of the things I learned from Julia Child.
1) Follow your passion and the rest will fall into place. Julia began The French Chef television series when she was 51. She was big, over 6′ tall, with a warbly voice and would be referred to as a handsome woman rather than pretty. It didn’t matter. She had a deep rooted passion, charisma, charm and a uniqueness that made her stand out and draw you in. She was one hell of a French chef and the first woman to win an emmy award for an educational program.
2) Life happens and you’re going to get burned so just move on. Just because something doesn’t turn out like it was supposed to isn’t the end of the world. Souffle’s flop, omelets crumble and life continues.
3) Go BIG or go home. Don’t shy away from your vision. Julia Child’s 734-page, 3-lb. Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook manuscript was rejected by the original publisher because of its size. The book went on to become a bestselling cookbook for five straight years.
4) Be True to who you are. Julia had her critics among them were those who thought there was way too much fat in French cooking. Julia’s motto was to eat in moderation. “I would rather eat one tablespoon of chocolate russe cake than three bowls of Jell-O”
5) Find you niche. You can’t be all things to all people. Do what you do well and do it for those who get it. Julia said “I think you have to decide who your audience is. If you don’t pick your audience, you’re lost because you’re not really talking to anybody. My audience is people who like to cook, who want to really learn how to do it.”
Happy 100th Birthday Julia!