JULIA CHILD, a native of California and a Smith College graduate; Simone ("Simca") Beck, French-born and -educated; and Louisette Bertholle, half French and half American, educated in both countries, represented an even blending of the two backgrounds and were singularly equipped to write about French cooking for Americans. Child studied at Paris's famous Cordon Bleu, and all three authors worked under various distinguished French chefs. In 1951 they started their own cooking school in Paris, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, at the same time that Mastering the Art of French Cooking was taking shape. After that, Simone Beck published two cookbooks, Simca's Cuisine in 1972 and New Menus from Simca's Cuisine in 1979, and she continued to teach cooking in France until her death in 1991. Louisette Bertholle also had several cookery books published. In 1963, Boston's WGBH launched The French Chef television series, which made Julia Child a national celebrity, earning her the Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy in 1966. Several public television shows and numerous cookbooks followed. She died in 2004.
Praise for Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking "Julia Child paved the way for Chez Panisse and so many others by demystifying French food and by reconnecting pleasure and delight with cooking and eating at the table. She brought forth a culture of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with them in the pursuit of flavor." --Alice Waters, Chez Panisse "Mastering the Art of French Cooking was one of my first introductions to my foundation of understanding the art of French cooking. The combination of reading Julia's book, working in the kitchen, and watching her television shows helped lead me to my beginnings in serious cuisine. Julia is . . . the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine." --Emeril Lagasse, Emeril's Restaurant "Julia has slowly but surely altered our way of thinking about food. She has taken the fear out of the term 'haute cuisine.' She has increased gastronomic awareness a thousandfold by stressing the importance of good foundation and technique, and she has elevated our consciousness to the refined pleasures of dining. Through the years her shows have kept me in rapt attention, and her humor has kept me in stitches. She is a national treasure, a culinary trendsetter, and a born educator beloved by all." --Thomas Keller, The French Laundry "Julia freed the American public from their fears of cooking French. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us. I believe that the television shows based on that landmark book did even more to encourage reluctant cooks to try their hands . . . much to our benefit." --Mimi Sheraton "1961 A.D. Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is published. Her black-and-white TV show on WGBH in Boston soon follows. Child is one of the great teachers of the millennium: She is intelligent and charismatic, and her undistinguished manual skills are not daunting to her viewers. An entire generation of ambitious American home cooks is instantly born." --Jeffrey Steingarten