The French Chef

The French Chef

Television
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The French Chef

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The French Chef is an influential television cooking show created by Julia Child, and produced and broadcast by WGBH Public television in Boston, Massachusetts, from February 11, 1963 to 1973. It was one of the first cooking shows on television. The show grew out of some special presentations that Julia had done based on the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which she had co-authored. The French Chef was produced from 1963 to 1973 by WGBH for National Educational Television (and later, PBS). Reruns continued on PBS until 1989, and currently air on Cooking Channel as of 2010.

Format

The French Chef introduced French cooking to the United States at a time when it was considered expensive restaurant fare, not suitable for home cooking. Child emphasized fresh and, at the time, unusual ingredients. All of the recipes used on The French Chef had originally appeared in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but for the show, Child chose mostly the more domestic recipes from the book, although such showpieces as Beef Wellington, various sorts of soufflé, and some ambitious pastries also made it into the mix if they seemed within the reach of a home cook without staff.

The show was done live to videotape from start to finish, leaving little room for mistakes. The resulting occasional accidents became a popular trademark of Child's on air presence, used as "teachable moments" to encourage viewers to relax about the task's demands.

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