Created by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts in 2015, the Julia Child Award is given to an individual (or team!) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

The Foundation presents the annual award in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a gala event held each fall in Washington, D.C.

Each year, the recipient receives a uniquely designed award engraved with his/her name and year of honor. In addition, the Foundation makes a $50,000 grant to the food-related non-profit of the recipient’s choosing.

The Foundation created the Award to:
  • Encourage people to cook for themselves, to better understand where food comes from, to value eating and drinking and the importance that both can play in improving the quality of life.
  • Expand public awareness and understanding of the recipient’s accomplishments and agenda.
  • Help further the impact of the recipient’s objectives by providing a grant to a food related non-profit organization of the recipient’s choosing.
The recipient of the Award will have significant accomplishments in the following areas:
  • Educator: The recipient will demonstrate educational contributions as a teacher, advocate and/or food or cookbook writer.
  • Communicator: The recipient will be an effective communicator and motivator in bettering public perceptions and practices related to cooking, eating and drinking.
  • Innovator: The recipient will have demonstrated innovation in America’s food world by pioneering a new path and/or fostering a significant shift in the thinking, production, cooking or development of how Americans eat and drink.
  • Mentor: The recipient will have a demonstrated track record of mentoring others in food and wine and/or related professions.
  • Integrity: The recipient will have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in their work and have exhibited a high level of personal integrity in both their public and private life.
  • Bridge builder: The recipient will have conducted themselves as a bridge builder within the national food community.
  • Independence: The recipient will have a demonstrated ability to act independent of conventions or the status quo to convince the public to change its thinking towards cooking, eating and drinking.
  • Public-spirited: Through active efforts and support of charitable organizations, the recipient will have demonstrated significant contributions towards the greater good.

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History (NMAH), located in Washington D.C., explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history.

Several of NMAH’s extensive collections explore food and its place in our society both historically and socially. One of the museum’s most popular installations is Julia Child’s original kitchen from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

This is but one reason why the Julia Child Foundation presents its annual Julia Child Award at the gala that kicks off the annual Smithsonian Food History Program at the NMAH. The activities and the accomplishments of the Julia Child Award recipient are featured in future NMAH programming.

For more information about the American Food History Project, please visit here. For more information about the museum, visit here.

Award Director

Tanya Steel

In her role as Award Director for the Julia Child Award, Tanya oversees the planning for and presentation of the Award but has no voting privileges.

Learn More