Julia Child would’ve been 99 years old today. The legendary chef was a frequent visitor to Williams-Sonoma stores – and a good friend of Williams-Sonoma founder, Chuck Williams.
When you ask Chuck to tell you about some of his favorite culinary buddies, you’ll inevitably get a chuckle and the words, “Well, of course, there was Julia.”
Every time an episode of Julia Child’s “The French Chef” aired on television, customers would flock to Williams-Sonoma wanting to buy the equipment needed to prepare the intricate French recipes that were featured on the show.
“I didn’t even need to watch her show to know what she’d cooked on any given night,” Chuck recalls. “Because the next morning, countless customers would come into the shop asking for the exact size of sauté pan or soufflé dish that Julia had used.”
The day after a popular soufflé episode, a well-dressed woman came in and asked for a soufflé dish, but was crestfallen when she learned the price. After all, she reasoned, why should she spend so much money on a special baking dish for a recipe that might not even turn out?
The ever-practical Chuck asked her if she owned a dog (she did). In that case, he said, she did not need to purchase a soufflé dish. Chuck advised that she could achieve perfectly good results baking the lofty French specialty in a dog dish – and suggested she try that instead. Needless to say, the customer bought the soufflé dish.
Today, Williams-Sonoma customers are still baking Julia’s souffles – and celebrating the joys of cooking they learned from one of the world’s most beloved chefs.
In honor of Julia, here are five of my favorite French-inspired Williams-Sonoma recipes:
- Asparagus with Orange Hollandaise Sauce
- French Onion Soup
- Salade Niçoise
- Beef Bourguignonne
- Grand Marnier Soufflé