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is an act of integrity, and faith."


Happy 90th Birthday, Julia!



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"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. 
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Live like it's Heaven on Earth."

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"Life itself is the proper binge."
~ Julia Child

For some time now I have given considerable thought to Julia Child’s imminent – and eminent – 90th birthday celebration. Even managed to jot down a line or two in tribute and intended to finalize it this weekend. And then came the Times-Picayune piece (following). That did it. I’ve decided
to let it speak for itself, as well as for Julia Child.
How honored we were to have one of Julia’s birthday celebrations right
here in New Orleans. We were privileged as well to have a chef of Michael Lomonaco’s stature visit to co-host the Birthday Bash and reminisce about the city responsible for his culinary epiphany.
Just a word or two though, based on my own experience: Gigi, (my
mother, God rest her soul) literally forced “Mastering the Art of French
Cooking”(1961 edition, okay?) on me at a tender age. Thanks to Gigi's
foresight, I am blessed to be among those (and we are many) who owe
a tremendous debt of gratitude to Julia Child for her tireless guidance,
enlightenment, inspiration, and encouragement through the decades.
She set a tremendous example for us, not only with her culinary expertise, but also with her marvelous sense of humor, lack of "Attitude" as she became a world-renowned figure, and her indomitable grace and aplomb
in sticky situations.
Bloopers such as “First you take a leek…” would perhaps have destroyed
the career of those less self-assured than our Julia. Long may she reign.


"Julia's no child -- she's 90!
Legendary culinarian toasted at birthday bash"
The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA, August 8, 2002

By Dale Curry, Food editor

“As chef Michael Lomonaco lovingly turned out some of Julia Child's favorite dishes at Cobalt restaurant in New Orleans Thursday night, he recalled her influence on his life.
" ‘I grew up watching Julia on TV,’ said the New Yorker, who was director of chefs at Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center, and guest chef for the dinner celebrating her 90th birthday. ‘I was 10, 11 and 12 years old, watching Julia, the French chef, and I was always absorbed with her, her easiness, her frankness, her way of making it seem do-able.’
So, at her birthday celebration, he credited her as a major influence on his
career, along with New Orleans.
Before Lomonaco was a chef, he was an actor. And, on one night in 1975,
after performing at the Saenger Theater in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ ‘I had
an epiphany,’ he said.
Here for a total of 36 hours, a span during which he never slept, he found
his way to a restaurant. "I have no idea which one," but the 20-year-old did
know how to order.
‘I had my first bowl of gumbo,’ he said, and that was followed at the same
seating by two more bowls of gumbo, an order of étouffée and bread pudding.
‘I fell in love with American cooking with that meal in New Orleans,’ he said.
Shortly after, he enrolled in culinary school at City University in New York
and swapped the stage for a kitchen.
Lomonaco narrowly escaped death on Sept. 11, 2001, with a bizarre change of course that kept him on the first floor instead of the top floor of tower No. 1,
where he usually checked in at 8:15 a.m.
‘Instead of going upstairs as I normally would, I made a last-minute decision. I needed new glasses. Mine were scratched and were bothering me,’ he said.
In the concourse beneath the towers, he turned into a Lens Crafters shop and
just as the optometrist was finishing up with him, the evacuation began.
"I heard a rumble, but I mistook it for the subway, which runs under the building," he said. Confused, he moved with the crowd out of the building, and moments
later, he turned back to see the second airliner slice through tower No. 2.
‘I made a right turn instead of a left turn into the building. It's as simple as that and that's what saved my life,’ he said. Of the hundreds of employees of Windows on the World, 79 were killed.
On the sleeve of his chef's white coat, Lomonaco wears a blue badge that says, "Windows of Hope." It signifies the worldwide restaurant support campaign for families of those 79 employees. So far, 5,000 restaurants including some in New Orleans have raised $19 million, some of which has gone directly to families, with the rest invested for educating their children.
One supporting chef was Susan Spicer of Bayona, Herbsaint and Cobalt restaurants, who with chef Brack May prepared the Julia Child dinner with Lomonaco. Cobalt was one of 20 nationwide restaurants, each with a celebrity guest chef, that simultaneously celebrated the legendary culinarian's birthday. Child attended one at the Fifth Floor Restaurant with Masa's in San Francisco while diners in all locations were treated to a tape of her career highlights.
Known for her bloopers and occasional accidents on the air, Child has long been considered a great sport, undaunted by embarrassment and always honest and frank. For Lomonaco, it was her passion for food and wine that inspired him.
Some of her favorites that Lomonaco, Spicer and Brack selected for the meal were warm rabbit liver paté, fish escabeche, roasted milk-fed veal, chèvre with roasted figs and apple pancake gateau.
The best part of her day was lunch, Lomonaco said, and he frequently prepared it while executive chef at the 21 Club in New York.
‘She enjoyed lunch. It was time for her glass of chardonnay, oysters on the half-shell and poached bass,’ he recalled.
The 21 Club was a special place for Child because she and her husband Paul
went directly there when she returned from work with the Office of Strategic
Services (OSS) during World War II.
‘It was the first place she went after docking in America; they went to have
drinks at the 21 Club,’ he said.
Lomonaco, who has cooked with Child on her ‘Cooking with Master Chefs’ television series, is currently consultant for Noche, a Latin-themed restaurant
on Times Square.
Child's actual birthday is August 15. Proceeds from the celebrations last week
will benefit the Julia Child Endowment Fund for culinary research in France.
The fund is administered by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP), an organization of which Child was a founder, and a
sponsor of the birthday events...
© The Times-Picayune. Used with permission.

“Just as in music and theater, a classical food background
helps you find your own freedom.”
~ Michael Lomonaco

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?

You did not imagine for one moment that I would leave you with no
Julia recipes, did you? Perish the thought! Here they are. Bon appétit!

Happy cooking, happy eating. Toast Julia with a glass of your favorite Chardonnay. Here's to your health as well. And until next time, remember,

“Once you have mastered a technique,
you hardly need look at a recipe again.”

~ Julia Child, in "Julia's Kitchen Wisdom"


A Tribute to Julia

"It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love,
are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think
of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I
am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the
love of it and the hunger for it… and then the warmth and richness and
fine reality of hunger satisfied… and it is all one."

~ M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating icon icon



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