It’s Okay to Be a Female Head Chef

PBS Food asks Chef Beatrice Ojakangas about her time with Julia Child on the show, “Baking with Julia.” In the midst of the Julia Child 100th Birthday Celebration, Ojakangas pays tribute to her legacy.

What was it like to work with Julia Child?

I was nervous at first, but the instant I got into the kitchen with her, she had a way of making me feel important – like I knew something she didn’t. She was gracious, welcoming, and really fun to work with her because she asked lots of questions.

What do you believe is Julia Child’s lasting legacy?

Obviously, she made it okay to be a woman in the kitchen, to be a woman head chef in a restaurant, and she opened the door for women to be respected in the field of foods. She was the first woman to be respected as a chef on television. And another thing: She was not self-conscious at all!

What was the impact of appearing on “Baking with Julia?”

It has been amazing to me how many people saw the program and even though it was several years ago, people remember it and always ask about my experience meeting her.

Watch Julia Child and Beatrice Ojakangas

About Beatrice Ojakangas

Beatrice Ojakangas is a free-lance food writer and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. In May 2005, she was honored by being inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Cookbook Hall of Fame. She has been a food editor at Sunset Magazine in California and has worked for and/or consulted for several food companies and food organizations. She has written 29 cookbooks. Her newest cookbook, The Best Soups and Breads, is due to be published in 2013. SYou can learn more about Beatrice on her website.