What the Late and Legendary Julia Child Really Thought of the Food Network – ‘They Want to Be Entertained’

by Jeremy Spirogis
Celebrity chef Julia Child

To say that chef Julia Child modified American cooking and the way Americans study to cook dinner can be an understatement.

Television had by no means seen something like her when she debuted her first cooking program, The French Chef, on public tv in 1963.

In a 1999 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, the culinary teacher shared her emotions concerning the Food Network, which at the moment had premiered only a few years earlier than.

Her remarks impressively predicted the community’s sturdy leaning, even today, towards food-as-entertainment.

Celebrity chef Julia Child
Celebrity chef Julia Child | Rick Friedman/Corbis by way of Getty Images

Food Network has a smattering of cooking reveals

Premiering on November 23, 1993, Food Network offered in its early years meals instruction applications, also referred to as “stand and stir” reveals. These included The Essence of Emeril with rising star chef Emeril Lagasse; Too Hot Tamales with Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger; Molto Mario with soon-to-be celeb chef Mario Batali; and East Meets West with Ming Tsai.

Fast ahead 27 years and whereas the community does have cooking reveals – 30-Minute Meals with Rachael Ray; Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten; Trisha’s Southern Kitchen with Trisha Yearwood; and The Pioneer Woman with Ree Drummond – most of its programming appears to be centered on competitions and reality-style reveals.

These embody Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, Beat Bobby Flay, The Great Food Truck Race, Supermarket Stakeout, Worst Cooks in America, and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, the latter of which the community presents virtually nightly in hours-long blocks of programming.

Julia Child’s concern concerning the Food Network

Even again in 1999, Julia Child expressed her concern with the route the fledgling community was headed in. As a devoted trainer of the culinary arts, she expressed her concern in her interview with Television Academy Foundation.

“I’ve always been very much interested in it, hoping it would work,” she stated of the community at the moment. “I think they’re having a difficult time because they have to get a big audience.”

RELATED: You’ll Never Believe What Made Julia Child Become a Chef

She went on to level out that applications like Emeril Live! banked on the chef’s shouts of “Bam!” and “kicking it up a notch!” with a dwell viewers applauding as he cooked.

“Emeril Lagasse…they just adore him,” she shared. “But they’re looking at it for fun and amusement…but they’re not going to watch a serious thing on how to bone a turkey or something like that. They want entertainment.”

“We have people who want to learn how to cook,” she stated of the demographic watching cooking reveals like hers on PBS, “which is quite different from people who just want to be amused.”

Julia Child’s focus was on educating others to cook dinner

Child was a cheerleader of Food Network’s and was desirous to see the channel succeed. She understood, nevertheless, that it was about scores for Food Network and generally straight-up cooking instruction simply wasn’t going to chop it.

Bob Spitz, the writer of Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child, summed up the legendary chef’s legacy and mirrored on what he felt Child would consider the Food Network today.

Julia ChildJulia Child
Julia Child | Rick Friedman/Corbis by way of Getty Images

“Julia always admired any cook who taught technique and advanced cooking,” Spitz advised Penguin Random House in 2012, “and she was a very early supporter and patron of early TV cooking stars like Emeril Lagasse and Sara Moulton.”

“There are food celebrities I’m sure she would admire for their expertise and flair, like Bobby Flay and Mario Batali,” he continued. “But Julia hated flash, and I think she would be appalled at the number of so-called ‘food celebrities’ who have little talent for anything but the camera and regard food as merely props.”

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