Julia Child’s Kitchen
Compiled by Deb Mandel, 2022
1961 – 2004
Location (Julia’s home)
103 Irving St., Cambridge
Julia moved from Europe to Cambridge in 1961, where husband Paul accepted a job. They settled into a cozy house on tree-lined Irving St., nestled into her soon-to-be-famous blue and green kitchen. Paul stirred up “upside down martinis” while Julia prepared supper, on custom-sized counters Paul designed for her 6’2″ frame.
Julia’s first big break came with the publication of her 1961 book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, co-authored with Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. The book’s popularity beget her second in 1968, The French Chef Cookbook, but her biggest break, was her hosting of the renowned French Chef series, broadcast to 96 stations throughout America by Boston’s WGBH, from 1963-1973. In 1966, Julia Child won an Emmy for Achievements in Educational Television for The French Chef.
Seven more television series arose, and, starting in the 1990s, many were filmed in her Cambridge home kitchen. Kitchenware unfamiliar to American cooks such as large balloon whisks, copper pots, and table décor appeared on her shows, courtesy of Harvard Square’s Design Research, a influential, modernist European home furnishings store. Unfazed by celebrity, Julia was often seen about the neighborhood visiting Design Research, its neighbor Harvest restaurant, and her butcher at Savenor’s Market.
Julia was quite active and well loved in her hometown. In 1976, she was one of five Cambridge women chosen by the Boston YWCA for “outstanding achievements which have substantially contributed to improving and expanding opportunities for all women.” In 1991 Julia gave a cooking demonstration at Cambridge’s School of Culinary Arts in a fall series of “the nation’s top chefs.”
In 1995, Julia Child established The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts, a private charitable foundation to make grants to further her life’s work. The Foundation, originally set up in Massachusetts, later moved to Santa Barbara, California, where it is now headquartered. That same year, she was presented an honorary Doctor of Culinary Arts degree during the 81st commencement at Johnson & Wales University in Providence. Rhode Island.
In 1998, Julia Child and Marian Morash, WGBH chef and gardener, served as honorary chairpersons and volunteered their cooking talents to support a benefit that raised $72,000 for the Mount Auburn Hospital Breast Center. On June 5, 1999, she was given the Board of Governors Award from the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her contributions to broadcasting.
Child moved to a retirement community in California in 2001. Before she left, 16 area top chefs and city officials gave her a gala, with proceeds going to the Rindge School of Technical Arts Culinary Scholarship Fund.
Child donated her house and office to Smith College, who later sold the house. Child donated her kitchen to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, where it is now on display. Charmingly, a sticker for one of her favorite local restaurants, Eat, is still visible on her refrigerator door. Child’s copper pots and pans were on display at Copia in Napa, California, until August 2009 when they were reunited with her kitchen at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
103 Irving St. was renovated beyond recognition and inhabited by new owners.
- 1965-Peabody Award for Personal Award for The French Chef
- 1980: U.S. National Book Awards for Current Interest (hardcover) for Julia Child and More Company
- 1996: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs
- 2001: Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Service Show Host for Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home
As Julia Child is more than a local phenomenon, the output of information by and about her and about Julia Child is voluminous. Here are some sources used and additional resources.
Anton, Lindsey and Christopher Cox. “Cambridge Mourns Culinary Gem.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 19 August 2004, p1. (with photo)
“Chefs to Present Goods.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 10 October 1991, p.13.
“Community Notes: Childs Honored at Johnson & Wales.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 29 June 1995, p.7.
“Cooks from Coast to Coast Go Wild Over Cambridge’s Julia Child and Her Recipes.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 23 September 1965, p.9.
“Culinary Legend Helps Fight Breast Cancer.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 30 April 1998, p.2.
“Five City Women Recognized as Pioneers in Women’s Rights.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 11 March 1976, p.4.
Greene, Robert. “Food Event is Child’s Play.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 10 October 2001, p.17.
“This week in Cambridge History.” The Cambridge Chronicle, 31 May 2000, p.2.
Pories, Susan, 1953- [editor], et al. In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Chefs. Cambridge, MA, Mount Auburn Hospital, 2020. (includes chapter on Julia Child)
Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America. Julia Child Research Guide. (the place to start your archival research.)
Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Julia Child’s Kitchen.
Smithsonian National Museum of American History. ”Television Star.”
Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. https://juliachildfoundation.org/
PBS: https://www.pbs.org/food/julia-child/ Links to background information, recordings of her TV series, recipes, etc.
WIkipedia Contributors. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. “Julia Child.” 26 March 2022. Accessed 29 March 2022.