Bon Anniversaire, Julia Child!
In recognition of the beloved cookbook author and television chef’s 100th birthday, which would have been Wednesday, Atlanta restaurants are featuring her cuisine and sharing fond memories this week.
At the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, bartender Chris King well remembers meeting Ms. Child in the hotel’s famous Lobby Lounge.
“I walk in here one morning and I heard that piercing voice, ‘helloooo! ‘There sits Julia Child. She had a cup of tea.”
Child made her way into the kitchen at some point during that visit – there she is at the right putting the finishing touches on a creme brulee. (”Every woman should have a blowtorch,” was among her axioms.)
“I told her, ‘I love your book!’ She said, ‘Do you cook?’ I said, ‘I’m trying!’ Then she signed a cocktail napkin – unsolicited,” recalled King, who has been at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead since 1989. “She was very nice, very outgoing, very flamboyant.”
The hotel’s Cafe honors her memory with a series of “Bon Appétit, Julia Child” evenings, planned this Wednesday through Saturday.
Dinner each night will feature recipes from Child, selected by newly appointed executive chef Chef Franck Steigerwald, beginning with Salad Nicoise (seared fresh Ahi tuna with potatoes,French green beans, tomatoes, basil and anchovies); Boeuf Bourguignon (braised short ribs with red wine, garlic mashed potato, pearl onions and wild mushrooms) and for dessert, almond macaroons with orange pastry cream and raspberry.
Dinner for two is $100, exclusive of tax and tip. Reservations are required. Call 404-240-7035 or see this web site for more information.
Meanwhile Bistro Niko and Kyma, both part of the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, were selected to represent Georgia out of 100 restaurants nationwide as part of “The JC100: Julia Child Restaurant Week,” which runs through Wednesday.
“Julia, being an American, was the first to open the doors of respect from European cooks because she was so talented, so precise and had so much respect for the French kitchen,” said Pano Karatassos, CEO and founder of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, who counts Child as one of his culinary idols.
“As a young cook, I bought her book and used it as sort of a bible. I made beurre blanc, which was practically unheard of at the time and it was excellent,” Karatassos said. “I just followed her directions. She made it easier not only for young cooks but for housewives as well to master what the European cooks already had.”
- Jennifer Brett and Sheila Poole/The Buzz