Why Julia Child’s First Emmy Win Was Kind of a Big Deal
Whenever you think about French American cuisine, the first name that pops to your mind is Julia Child. Child is perhaps one of the best celebrity chefs to have ever lived. Her fun and energetic personality captured audiences far and wide and helped aspiring chefs begin their culinary journey.
Her legacy lives on even after her death. Child was nominated for several awards and won a couple of them along the way. However, none was as symbolic as her 1966 Emmy win, which forever put her name on the map. Read on to know why the 6-foot tall chef’s win was a big deal.
Child would’ve probably never become a chef
Child was born on August 15, 1962, as Julia Carolyn McWilliams. Her parents were John McWilliams and Julia Carolyn Weston. Child’s father was a prominent land manager who graduated from Princeton University, while her mother was a paper company heiress.
Child had two younger siblings, John McWilliams Jr. and Dorothy Cousins. Child schooled in a boarding high school called Katherine Branson High School and was actively involved in sports.
Her tall height put her at an advantage for sports such as basketball, golf, and tennis.
In 1934 she graduated from Smith College with a major in history. Although her family had a cook, Child was never interested in learning how to cook. Her interest lay in sports, and she excelled at the extracurricular activities.
After graduating from college, Child headed for New York to look for work. She landed a job in a furniture and rug store where she worked as a copywriter. When the Second World War broke out, Child enlisted to be in the Women’s Army Corps, but her height disqualified her. She joined the Office of Strategic Services, where she began as a typist.
Soon afterward, she got promoted to a research assistant. Child became immensely successful at the Office of Strategic Services and had several achievements, including developing a shark repellant. After the war ended, Child went to France, where she began exploring cooking.
Child pursued cooking to get her husband Paul interested in her
As mentioned above, Child never cared for cooking. She reportedly used to cook frozen dinners for herself. She met her husband Paul while they both worked at the OSS. The two became friends and got married on September 1, 1946.
Paul Cushing Child, Julia’s husband, was described as a man with a sophisticated palate. He had lived and worked in Paris as a poet and an artist for some time and, therefore, knew a thing or two about French cuisine. Sources stated that Child’s growing interest in food was a means of seducing Paul.
In 1948, the State Department assigned Paul to Paris. He worked with the United States Information Agency as an exhibit officer. The two ended up relocating to Paris, and it is where Child’s interest in cooking began.
While the two enjoyed their meal at the La Couronne, Child had a culinary revelation from her dish of oysters, fine wine, and sole Meunier. She ended up enrolling in a cooking school in Paris called the Cordon Bleu.
Child had several nominations and awards, but her Emmy win meant a lot
Child’s show The French Chef was among the first cooking shows in America. Her debut meal on the show was a tutorial on making the perfect French omelet on a hot plate.
After the episode aired, people sang praises for Child, and the network ended up giving her a cooking show.
In 1966, the show was nominated for an Emmy Award for Achievement in Educational Television. The win was groundbreaking because it made Child the first educational television personality to have won an Emmy. Child will always be known for bringing French cuisines to American households.