"I grew up watching Julia Child and was lucky enough to get to know her well when I became a chef. She used to dine at Clio all the time and I have so many fond memories of her coming back to the kitchen to hang out. Back then in Boston, it was hard to find restaurants with bone marrow, foie gras and caviar, and she used to say she loved coming here because she could indulge in her favorites. I was invited to attend her 90th birthday party and they auctioned off items from her television set. I won the turkey baster ? the one she was often seen using on camera! ? and I still have it in my kitchen today."
? Beef bourguignon with 2009 Domaine Mongeard-Mugneret Echezeaux Ville Vignes, from Jason Berthold, executive chef, RN74, San Francisco.
Berthold remembers watching Child's cooking shows on television as a child and young cook and remains impressed with her show on making beef bourguignon. "Browning meat, braising onions, cooking with wine, simmering stock and skimming fat, slow cooking, using buerre manie, etc. It is classic, important and serious."
RN74 is named for Route National 74, the main highway running through the Burgundy wine region of France, and Berthold picked a wine he discovered on a trip to Burgundy last fall. It has "great balance with layers of power and elegance, just like a perfectly made beef bourguignon should."
? Bouillabaisse with French rose, E. Michael Reidt, executive chef, Area 31 Restaurant, Miami.
Inspired by Child's classic bouillabaisse recipe, Area 31 serves a dish called "A to the 3 to the 1," which is a fish stew with white water clams, local fish and tiger shrimp, highlighting South American flavors by using onions, garlic, tomatoes and cilantro. For Reidt, Child's writings and philosophy of cooking are things that "helped me keep things in perspective. When the whole modernist cuisine trend took off in the late '90s, it was Julia and Jacques Pepin who influenced me to stay the course, to stick with the basics I had studied and continue to focus on the product and its execution ? to make sure no matter what the trend might be that my cooking always needed to have soul and substance."
? Feuilletes aux poires (puff pastry with pastry cream and caramelized pears) with moscato d'Asti, from Katherine Thompson, executive pastry chef at L'Artusi and dell'anima restaurants, New York.
Thompson first made this dessert from Child's "The Way to Cook" as a 13-year-old and it's still her favorite. She brought a version of this to the L'Artusi menu about a year and a half ago, using crepes instead of puff pastry and gelato instead of whipped cream. She pairs it with a moscato d'Asti because the wine has hints of pear in it, and a little acidity and freshness that balances well with the rich caramel flavor of the dessert. To Thompson, the great thing about Child was the way she made French cuisine approachable and she tries to follow suit, making dishes that guests can replicate at home and providing the recipe on request.
As the anniversary of Child's birth on Aug. 15, 1912, approaches, the food world will celebrate in various ways.
Keller's got his game plan in place for his team.
"We will all raise a glass of Champagne in celebration and thanks for her many achievements," he says. "I'm sure she would approve."