At Sunset, from left to right: cookbook author Flo Braker, Julia Child’s publicist (name unknown), Sunset test kitchen manager Bernadette Hart; Sunset fo...

It was thrilling. I was a young food writer, and Julia Child, America’s biggest (and tallest!) food celebrity, was coming for lunch at Sunset during a book tour. Recently a few of my former colleagues and I reminisced about that day in 1991 with some pings back and forth on Facebook, excerpted here. What did we remember best about the meal on the patio overlooking the Sunset gardens? What we ate, and Julia’s sensible advice for how to eat every day.

Linda Anusasananan: I remember running to Borders to buy all their copies of her book The Way to Cook so she could sign them.

Bill Marken: Julia was nice and very respectful of Sunset, evidenced by the way she cleaned her plate—she may have liked it. I think the main course was grilled lamb chops (maybe skirt steak), and of course those tasty bolillos. [Sunset’s crusty Mexican rolls were a staple at fancy lunches on our campus.] Does anyone remember what the red wine was? I hope we dug deep into the cellar for it.

Linda A: I found the menu! I had tucked it into her cookbook. You were right. We had lamb chops.

The menu card from the Sunset lunch for Julia Child


And here’s the cover of the menu card, with an illustration by Earl Thollander of the Sunset entertaining patio.

Bill M: I meant to type that Julia ‘licked,’ not ‘liked’ her plate.

Christine Hale: I think Julia both liked and licked her plate—lol! The ice cream recipe was from my caramel story and I was on Cloud 9 because Julia pronounced it ‘divine’...probably one of the most exciting moments in my life!

Elaine Johnson: It was in the middle of the low-fat craze, and she said we should enjoy all foods—plus wine—and not snack in between meals. So sensible.

Cheri Williams: I was fortunate enough to be asked to follow her around that day and document her visit. Right before I snapped the shot [at top], I counted to three and in her distinctively melodic voice, Julia said, ‘Say fromage.’ A very memorable day for moi.

And for all of us. Merci beaucoup, Julia!

Do you have favorite moments from Julia’s decades on TV? Two of mine: Julia Child and the Chicken Sisters, and Dan Ackroyd’s ridiculously funny SNL skit The French Chef.


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