PBS Food asks Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten about his time with Julia Child on the show, “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.” In the midst of the Julia Child 100th Birthday Celebration, Vongerichten pays tribute to her legacy.
What was it like working with Julia Child?
The first time I met Julia Child I was in 1985 while working in Boston at the Lafayette Hotel. She hosted a party at her home which I was invited to attend. I remember the way she pronounced my first name with a deep tone in her voice and I never expected her to be as tall as she was. She had the most impressive home kitchen was incredibly hospitable. A few months later, she came in for dinner. I was so nervous to cook for her. I will never forget her telling me that my food was great but a little flat and that it needed to be perked up. She told me in order to know your own food you must eat it yourself.
Years later I was invited to on her show, In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, one of my first TV appearances in America. We had a great time cooking together. At one point during the shoot, I used my bare hands to handle the food and she slapped my hand in the middle and yelled “CUT, Jean-Georges (in her deep tone) NEVER touch the food with your bare hands on TV. Let’s do it again!”
What do you believe is Julia Child’s lasting legacy?
I believe that Julia Child paved the road for the industry. She was a great chef, TV personality and among all a wonderful woman.
What was the impact of appearing on “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs?”
Appearing on Julia’s show helped me build my reputation as a chef and was great for business. People recognized me by being on the show and would stop me and say, “I saw you cook with Julia.”
Watch Julia Child and Jean-Georges Vongerichten
About Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Jean-Georges Vongerichten is responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three- and four-star restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Shanghai and Hong Kong. In October 2012, he releases Asian Flavors of Jean-Georges, featuring recipes from his restaurants Spice Market, Vong and 66.