Julia Child: The Last Interview

and Other Conversations

with an introduction by Helen Rosner

This delightful collection of interviews with “The French Chef” Julia Child traces her life from her first stab at a writing career fresh out of college; to D.C., Sri Lanka, and Kunming where she worked for the Office of Strategic Services (now the CIA); to Paris where she and her husband Paul, then a member of the State Department, lived after World War II, and where Child attended the famous cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. From there, Child catapulted to fame — first with the publication of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961 and the launch of her home cooking show, “The French Chef,” in 1963. In this volume of carefully selected interviews, Child’s charm, guile, and no-nonsense advice are on full, irresistibly delicious display. And putting her importance in perspective is a sparkling introduction by New Yorker food writer Helen Rosner.

Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California, in 1912. After attending Smith College, she joined the Office of Strategic Services (now the Central Intelligence Agency), where she facilitated top-secret communications between U.S. government officials and intelligence officers during World War II. While stationed in Sri Lanka, she met fellow OSS employee Paul Child, and the two married after the war. In 1948, the couple moved to Paris, where Child attended the famous cooking school Le Cordon Bleu. Her first book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking was published in 1961, was an instant bestseller, and is now a revered classic. In 1962, she launched the first live cooking show, “The French Chef.” From the 1960s through the 1990s she starred in many television shows and published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books. She is widely recognized as one of the most influential figures in American cooking. She died of kidney failure in Montecito, California, in 2004. Helen Rosner is a food critic for the New Yorker.

“Child is one of the great teachers of the millennium.” —Jeffrey Steingarten

“Julia Child paved the way for Chez Panisse and so many others by demystifying French food and by reconnecting pleasure and delight with cooking and eating at the table. She brought forth a culture of American ingredients and gave us all the confidence to cook with them in the pursuit of flavor.” —Alice Waters, chef, Chez Panisse

“Julia is … the grande dame of cooking, who has touched all of our lives with her immense respect and appreciation of cuisine.” —Emeril Lagasse

“Julia freed the American public from their fears of cooking French. By doing so, she greatly expanded the audience for all serious food writers. Her demystification prepared that public for the rest of us.” —Mimi Sheraton