Julia Child’s The French Chef Classics Release to Public Television Stations NationwideTributes from public television culinary experts, special Julia episodes featured as public media, including CreateTV, toast iconic chef on 100th birthday.
BOSTON (July 18, 2012) -- As a nation of foodies prepares to pay homage to Julia Child on August 15th in honor of her 100th birthday, those involved in her television roots highlight Child’s impact with tributes, recipes, and the release of a selection of episodes from her first public television program, The French Chef. Thanks to producing station WGBH Boston and distributor American Public Television (APT), beginning August 1st (check local listings) local public television stations across the U.S. will broadcast The French Chef Classics, a collection of three black and white episodes from the 1960s featuring Julia Child cooking three classic French dishes, not broadcast for nearly 50 years. Public media, including public television’s lifestyle channel, Create®, will pay tribute to the woman who was the first to host a national, television cooking series – a program genre now a mainstay for TV viewers everywhere.
Boston’s flagship public television station WGBH discovered Child in 1961 when she was promoting her groundbreaking cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As part of her interview, Child, eager to prove that anyone could follow her recipes, demonstrated how to prepare the perfect French omelet. A flood of letters and “countless” calls arrived from viewers wanting to see more. As a result, the series, The French Chef, premiered on WGBH in 1962.
WGBH’s leadership recognized this was a phenomenon to be shared with the nation. Boston-based distributor Eastern Educational Television Network (EEN, today’s APT) and WGBH joined forces and The French Chef -- the first nationally distributed cooking series -- became one of television’s most popular programs.
Public television stations are gearing up to broadcast the three episodes of those early, black and white programs which provide a “wonderful snapshot of Julia’s spunk and generous interest in sharing her joy of cooking: what made the nation fall in love with her many years ago,” according to APT president Cynthia Fenneman. For instance, Vermont Public Television has announced plans for a live show featuring local chefs replicating some of Child’s other recipes around each of the three episodes. “They are timeless treasures and we are pleased that local public television stations have them to share with viewers who may have never seen Child’s original work.” Fenneman added that APT is the leading distributor for cooking programs to public television stations nationwide, now distributing approximately 40 culinary series and specials annually, featuring national and international hosts.
Laurie Donnelly, Executive Producer in Charge of Lifestyle Programming and Special National Projects at WGBH, credits Child’s work on The French Chef as paving the way for programs she has produced including: Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie (hosted by Ruth Reichl), Food Trip with Todd English, Simply Ming (now entering its 10th year), a number of programs hosted by Lidia Bastianich, including Lidia’s Italy in America, The Victory Garden and, the landmark American food competition series, Cooking Under Fire.
Having worked with Child on numerous projects, Donnelly said “Julia was THE pioneer of food on television. She made it funny, accessible, and brought international cuisine to American tables. Julia was also a mentor to all of us, proving that it’s never too late to pursue your passion. At the age of 36 she decided to attend culinary school; and, ultimately, in 1993, at the age of 81, she was the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.”
While public television leaders acknowledge the role Child played in introducing and giving life to the genre of “food television”, it is today’s television chefs who credit her with planting the seed which is “going strong, with no sign of slowing down,” said Fenneman. Recognized public television chefs have started sharing personal memories and tributes in honor of Child’s 100th birthday. Sara Moulton, host of the APT- distributed Sara’s Weeknight Meals and a mainstay on ABC’s Good Morning America, started her career working with Child. Reflecting on her relationship, Moulton shared: "When I moved to New York I missed Julia. She had started working at GMA and came down every few months to tape. One time I asked her if she could have dinner and she said she didn’t think so, there was just too much to do. I volunteered to come in and prep for free so she could get out for dinner and she took me up on the offer. The very next day GMA hired me to work with her when she was in town. Many years later that work morphed into a job doing the prep for all the chefs that came on the show."
Create features “15 Days of Julia”
“In June we reconfigured the Create TV national feed to provide more time for food-related content based on research showing that culinary programming is, by far, the leading interest of Create’s viewers,” explained Fenneman. Distributed by APT, Create TV -- in markets reaching more than 75% of US television households -- will be broadcasting a special “Celebrate Julia” marathon on Saturday, August 18 (repeating Sunday, April 19), closing a 15-day tribute which will include video, memories, photos and recipes at the channel’s website: CreateTV.com.
Among the features of the tribute will be:
* APT/Create TV culinary hosts, producers and guests sharing video, memories, photographs, quotes and recipes beginning August 1 on a special Julia Child page at http://www.CreateTV.com/Julia.
* Sneak peek video clips of The French Chef Classics episodes which will be broadcast on public television stations nationwide (check local listings). The programs feature Child preparing some of her favorite French classics: French Onion Soup, Quiche Lorraine, and French Apple Tart
* Social media campaign sharing viewer and Create talent commentary: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
* Links to numerous Julia Child features, including:
· PBSFood.org for streaming video of 100 episodes of several public television series hosted by Julia, additional tributes from peers and a list of some of Julia’s fun, often irreverent quotes capturing her ever-constant enthusiasm
· Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History virtual tour of Child’s infamous kitchen so often a part of her television programs. · Alfred A. Knopf, Julia’s publishing house, lists of her top 100 recipes, gleaned from her repertoire, as well as a list of restaurants participating in a special Julia Child restaurant-week August 7-15
· WGBH.org will feature multiple never-before-seen clips from a 1970 location film shoot as well as one-of-a-kind recipes from Julia
* Viewers are being invited to share their memories of Julia on Twitter at #CookforJulia --where favorite recipes from Julia’s cookbooks will also be posted
American Public Television (APT) has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top rated programming to the nation’s public television stations since 1961. Among its 300 new program titles per year, APT has distributed about half of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles for nearly 10 years. APT programs include prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramas, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. America’s Test Kitchen From Cook’s Illustrated, Rick Steves’ Europe, Doc Martin, Nightly Business Report, Moyers & Company, NHK Newsline, Lidia’s Italy in America, Globe Trekker, Simply Ming, BBC World News and P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home join numerous documentaries and performance programs popular with public television viewers. These programs include: For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots, Diana Ross: For One and For All, The Best of Soul Train, Johnny Mathis: Wonderful, Wonderful! APT licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. Now in its 7th year, Create®TV -- featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming, and on the Web at CreateTV.com – is distributed by APT. APT is also a partner in WORLD™, in its 5th year, now featuring a mix of public television’s premier news, science and documentary programming and stories from the world over, with a complementary website at WORLDchannel.org. To find out more about APT’s programs and services, visit APTonline.org.
Create® is the dynamic TV channel and website featuring the best of public television's lifestyle programming. Create programming spotlights public television's most popular hosts featured in cooking, travel, how-to, gardening and arts and crafts series and specials. Additional content, including the national CreateTV schedule may be found on CreateTV.com, including streaming video, projects, tips, recipes and detailed information about the hosts, programs and special features such as marathon programming. Create is produced and distributed by American Public Television, WNET/New York Public Media and WGBH Boston in association with National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and PBS.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster, producing such award-winning PBS series as Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur, Curious George, and more than a dozen other prime-time, lifestyle, and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBH 44, and digital channels World and Create. Local WGBH TV productions that focus on the regions diverse community include: Greater Boston, Basic Black, High School Quiz Show and Neighborhood Kitchens. WGBH Radio serves listeners from Cape Cod to New Hampshire with: 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; Classical New England; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR Station. WGBH also produces the national radio news program The World. WGBH is a leading producer of online content and a pioneer in developing educational multimedia and new technologies that make media accessible for people with disabilities. Find more information at www.wgbh.org.
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Create: Faye Pantazopoulos, faye_pantazopoulos@APTonline.org, 617-338-4455 ext 133
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