Great Mind:
Julia Child's Kitchen Court

Turning ordinary ingredients into something fantastic, or even figuring out a new dish from unusual ingredients takes creative thinking and risk-taking. Julia Child showed many that they can cook interesting and delicious meals with a few basic instructions and thinking-outside-of-the-box.

As a newlywed, Julia Child brazenly attempted to cook an exotic meal for her husband and it turned out -- horrible. Years after her first foray into cooking she published many books, starred in award-winning cooking shows and inspired a nation of home cooks. She brought French cuisine to America through her writings and TV appearances. She proved that passion, hard work, and creative thinking can lead you down many exciting paths.

She started a career in copywriting after college, but decided that she wanted to serve her country at the start of World War II. Unfortunately, at 6'2" she was too tall to be a part of the US Army or Navy and joined the Office of Strategic Services (now called the CIA). She was in charge of many top-secret documents overseas. While she was stationed abroad, she met future husband Paul Child. Once married, Paul was stationed in France. It was here that Julia Child found her true calling.

According to her memoir, My Life in France, she was very nervous about being a young, inexperienced woman living in France. Once she arrived, she felt more than welcomed, she felt at home. She attempted to learn all she could of the language and the food by befriending local venders and chefs. Eventually she attended the prestigious Cordon Bleu cooking school.

From then on Julia's hard work paid off. She worked on a cookbook with two other fellow students called Mastering the Art of French Cuisine, which has since become an essential text for French cuisine in America. Its clear instructions and explanations along with its many useful photographs made the book a success.

After moving back to the states, she began doing publicity for her new cookbook. This led to various TV appearances and eventually a cooking show. Her work was recognized with a Peabody Award in 1965 and an Emmy Award in 1966.

Along with more popular cookbooks and television series Child also helped to found the American Institute of Wine and Food, an association of restaurants dedicated to increasing knowledge of food and wine.

Her history-making kitchen can be viewed at the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C. She also received many honorary doctorates and prestigious awards including the French Legion of Honor in 2000 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003.

In response to her popularity she said, "Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen, because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music."

She believed that while French cuisine was intimidating, it wasn't impossible to learn. She proved her case to a nation and revolutionized the way they cooked at home. Above all, she tried to increase the public's awareness and appreciation of wholesome, well-prepared food regardless of wealth or class.