Having just seen the movie Julie & Julia with my daughter Ally, I can’t help but smile. I too share Julia Child’s love of food! I’ve had a love affair with food my whole life…and having a career in the food and hospitality industry has been absolutely divine! In my years as a publicist (ten to be exact) I had the good fortune to meet the larger than life Julia Child at the The Book and The Cook event in Philadelphia in 1996.
I remember the anticipation as I stood in line, with so many others to meet this amazing icon. I was so nervous, what would I say? Prepping chefs for interviews, pitching stories every day, troubleshooting deadlines…I did this for a living…could I not find the words to say to Julia Child?
As I moved closer to the front of the line my heart started to beat just a little faster and I really felt my palms go “clammy”. What’s up with me? Pull yourself together…you’re a professional; I said to myself and look at all these other professionals. But she was a “rock star”, the most famous culinary professional I had yet to meet.
It was my turn. I walked right up to her as she sat in grand style in the butter sponsor’s booth (of course, what else would you expect) and said to her, Ms. Childs, it is an honor and a pleasure to meet you. She said, “Well aren’t you lovely?” Me…lovely? And what do you do? she asked? What do I do, what do I do? Ok…open your mouth! I blurted out….I’m a publicist! There I said it. She said, “Oh my…you have a lovely suit”. I said thank you, she asked me my name and then signed a colored postcard for her new book Baking with Julia.
The whole encounter didn’t last more than a few minutes, but I walked away stunned, yet with a sense that everything was right with the world. I just spoke with Julia Child…and we had a conversation, and she didn’t care who I was or what I did, she liked my suit! How simple and pleasant she was. I walked away with a Polaroid photograph and my signed postcard as if in heaven.
I’ve kept it with me all these years as an affectionate reminder of what inspires me every day. Just like Julia, I enjoy making people happy. It’s just that simple.