August 15, 2012 marks the day that America’s most famous television culinarian, Julia Child, would have turned 100. Julia, played by Meryl Streep in the movie Julie and Julia, died in 2004 at the age of 92.
Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI), a women’s professional culinary association to which Ms. Child belonged, is honoring the special day with “Julia” celebrations in 25 of its chapter cities around the country in August and September. She was awarded the Grande Dame designation by the group, its highest award, more than 25 years ago.
Premiering on public television in 1963, Child brought French cuisine and cooking into the homes of America with a flair that was pure “Julia.”
Child made classic cooking fun and approachable, all while wearing pearls. She was also a noted culinary educator and renowned cookbook author. She was nominated for eight Emmy Awards — and won three. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, in 2004. Her kitchen was donated to the Smithsonian after her death.
From New York to her hometown of Pasadena, Julia’s extraordinary legacy is being celebrated in 25 Les Dames Chapters with ‘60s dress cocktail parties and her signature pearls with suppers including recipes from her famous cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
A sampling of other Les Dames Chapter celebrations include:
ATLANTA – August 21, 2012. A catered French themed cocktail reception with Michel Escoffier and a niece of Julia Child at the Academy of Medicine. There will be a ceremonial cake cutting and book signing.
CHICAGO – September 7, 2012. “La Grande Fête: A French Salute to Julia and Joan”. The kick-off event of the Les Dames d’Escoffier Chicago Chapter’s Culinary Insiders Weekend event celebrates the 100th birthday anniversary of Grande Dame Julia Child with an amazing evening of French food, cheeses, wines and desserts. Alpana Singh, of Public Television’s “Check, Please,” will host and Dame of Distinction Joan Reardon will sign copies of her new book “As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.”
CLEVELAND – August 15, 2012. Hosting a light summer supper featuring Julia Child’s recipes, with all members dressing up as Julia. “Exquisite” pearl necklaces (made by one of the members) will be given out as gifts, and timeless Julia Child cooking shows will be shown as background entertainment.
DALLAS – August 13-18 , 2012. Partnering with Neiman Marcus (Downtown and North Park) to serve Julia Child recipes on its menu; a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to LDEI.
MINNEAPOLIS – August 16, 2012. Partnering with a local culinary networking organization, Women Who Really Cook (WWRC), on initiatives to celebrate Julia and raise funds for its respective culinary education scholarship/endowment programs. Headliner local female chefs will demonstrate in the culinary center auditorium while additional female chefs and food experts host station conversations in the kitchens, sampling food and wine – all in the spirit of “what Julia would do.” There will also be “Julia” activities held at the Minnesota State Fair.
MONTEREY BAY – August 26, 2012. Mastering the Art of a Birthday Celebration. A champagne reception and dinner co-sponsored with the American Institute of Food and Wine. The event will take place at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn with such notable attendees as Chef Jeremiah Tower, Michel Escoffier, President, Escoffier Museum and Foundation and David Riddell, Founder of Masters of Food & Wine; CEO, Mirabel Group.
NEW YORK – September 12, 2012. Consul General Philippe Lalliot, Les Dames d’Escoffier New York and the American Institute of Wine & Food New York Chapter will celebrate Julia Child’s 100th birthday at a festive reception.
SAN ANTONIO – August 26, 2012. A “Simply Celebrating Julia” event will be held at the Eilan Resort Hotel with a spa champagne reception, cooking demonstrations, gourmet luncheon and a live silent auction.
In addition to all of the individual LDEI chapter celebrations, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts awarded the Les dames d‘Escoffier a generous donation to increase LDEI’s Legacy Award grants for new and upcoming women in the field. The Foundation was created by Julia in 1995 for the purpose of supporting 501(c)(3) charitable organizations.
Les Dames d’Escoffier (LDEI) is an organization of influential professional women who are committed to the advancement of education and philanthropy in food, beverage and hospitality for the good of the global community. The group has over 1,500 members with chapters in 28 cities in the US and abroad. Follow on Facebook.
Information supplied by Crickett Karson, Les Dames d’Escoffier International.