©Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
Julia Child’s legacy is coming to life with the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience. After years in France and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the world-renown chef and author spent her last years in Santa Barbara experiencing everything the town had to offer from fine dining, the farmer’s markets, fresh seafood to even In-N-Out.
The farmer’s market Julia Child frequented.
“On Saturday mornings, I go to a marvelous farmers market downtown. All kinds of people gather there, but the market can only sell things that are grown in California, and most items are from Santa Barbara County. Smaller versions of the market take place on different days and in different locales,” said Child in an article she wrote for National Geographic Traveler. “When I have visitors, I take them on my personal, quirky tour. We might start with breakfast on the pier, right out on the water. Or we’ll have lunch on the pier, because there’s a wonderful restaurant there where you can get fresh steamed crab or local lobster, and you can eat them outdoors with the pelicans and seagulls.” She also mentioned her love for the scenery and beautiful climate as it reminded her of the French Riviera.
One of the hotels Julia Child frequented, The Four Seasons Biltmore exterior gardens.
Child’s established The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts in 1995 to further her far-reaching impact as a teacher and mentor after her death. Since 2004, the mission of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is to honor and further Child’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking. The non-profit Foundation is headquartered in Santa Barbara, California which provides grants to support research in culinary history, scholarships for professional culinary training, food writing and media, as well as professional development and food literacy programs. Over the last decade, the Foundation has made more than $2 million in grants to other non-profits. In 2015, the Foundation created the Julia Child Award, presented at an annual Food History Gala hosted by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
One of Julia Child’s favorite restaurant, La Super Rica Taqueria.
The Foundation and The Santa Barbara Culinary Experience are bringing her legacy and impact she has left on Santa Barbara to life with a three-day city-wide event from March 13-15. The SBCE will be an epicurean celebration of both Julia Child and Santa Barbara’s culinary scene involving chefs, mixologists, restaurateurs, and the local community, with guest appearances from nationally renowned food and beverage talents. Participating restaurants, bars, and hotels across the city and waterfront will offer their inspired spin on classic Child’s dishes, signature Julia and Paul Child cocktails, educational programming, memorable stays, tours, talks, and other creative programming, all to benefit The Julia Child Foundation.
A Julia Child favorite for seafood, Santa Barbara Shellfish Co.
Some of the Julia Child inspired events include a winemaking dinner at The Lark, artisan bread and butter making at The Four Seasons Biltmore, paella class and DIY gin and tonic bar at Loquita, soufflés and salads with chef Pascale Beale, a celebration dinner of Julia Child at one of her frequented hangouts, San Ysdiro Ranch and so much more.
Julia Child’s Guide to Santa Barbara County.
You can also experience Child’s Santa Barbara through an interactive map that lists out her favorites around the area. “Julia Child loved Santa Barbara. She summered here in her youth to avoid the heat of Pasadena. She wintered here during her adult life to avoid the cold of the Boston area. And most importantly, she decided to live here permanently for the final years of her life. A fun way to understand why Julia so loved Santa Barbara, is to follow in her footsteps utilizing Julia Child’s Guide to Santa Barbara. I was so fortunate to visit all of these special restaurants, hotels, wineries and destinations with Julia and those memories are everlasting,” said Eric W. Spivey, chairman of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
The Foundation and SBCE hope this inaugural event will give attendees a small taste of Child’s legacy, spirit and most importantly a celebration of her life and love of food.