Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California and graduated from Smith College in 1934. After college, she worked in publicity and advertising in New York, and during World War II, she served with the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and China. After the war, at the end of 1948, her husband Paul Child was assigned to the U.S. Information Service at The American Embassy in Paris, and Julia enrolled in the Cordon Bleu Cooking School. There she met her two French colleagues, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, and they subsequently opened a cooking school, "L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes," which resulted in their joint book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961.
Julia and Paul eventually returned to the States, and after a television interview at WGBH-Boston, the station asked Julia to try out a series of TV cooking shows, and The French Chef was born on February 11, 1963. After some 200 programs on classical French cooking, she branched out into contemporary cuisine with the television series, Julia Child & Company, Julia Child & More Company, and Dinner at Julia's. In 1984, she completed six "The Way to Cook" teaching videocassettes.
Child has appeared on national television programs including: Good Morning America, The Johnny Carson Show, The David Letterman Show, Phil Donahue, and T he Rosie O'Donnell Show. She was host for the PBS Cooking with Master Chefs series, with a different well-known chef for each of the programs, and also for the 39-part series, Baking with Julia. Her newest television venture is a 22-part series with Jacques Pépin. It is a technique-based program aimed at teaching the serious home cook and would-be chef. Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home started airing in October, 1999 and the companion cookbook has been on bestseller lists throughout the U.S.
Julia Child's books include: The French Chef Cookbook (1968), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volumes I and II, co-authored with Simone Beck (1970), and From Julia Child's Kitchen (1975). Julia Child & Company and Julia Child & More Company, originally published in the late 1970's, were combined into four books issued in the fall of 1998. Her large, fully illustrated book, The Way to Cook, was issued in October 1989, and is now available both in hard cover and paperback. Baking with Julia, a companion book to the recent Baking series, was published by William Morrow, and written by Dorie Greenspan. Cooking with Master Chefs was issued in the fall of 1993 to accompany the TV series, and was followed by In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs. Her latest book, written with Jacques Pépin, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home was published in 1999.
Julia Child has been interviewed and written about in many publications, including: Time, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, People Magazine and TV Guide. She has received honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College, Rutgers University, Smith College, and Harvard University. She was awarded the Ordre de Merite Agricole in 1967 by the French government, and in 1967 by the French government, and in 1976 the Ordre de Mérite Nationale. She was elected a member of the Confrérie de Ceres for her work on French bread, and is a member of the American chapter of the Commandérie des Cordons Bleus de France. She was awarded two national Emmy's: in 1995 for her "Master Chefs" series and in 1997 for "Baking with Julia." In 1999, she received the Peabody Award from Public Television.
Mrs. Child is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and a co-founder of the American Institute of Wine & Food.