WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 11, 2022) – Today, the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts has announced Grace Young, award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian, filmmaker and activist, as the recipient of the eighth annual Julia Child Award. Young will receive the Award on October 13th at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the home of Julia Child’s kitchen. The Award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to further Young’s advocacy for the value of Chinese-American culture and cuisine.
“Over the course of her career, Grace Young has made an immeasurable impact on the culinary landscape. Her dedication to preserving and sharing Chinese culinary traditions with America has transformed not only the way we cook, but has also shed light on how cuisines from around the world play an integral role in America’s culinary heritage,” said Eric W. Spivey, Chairman of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. “Grace and Julia share an innovative spirit, a passion for education and a commitment to encourage change. We are thrilled to honor Grace as this year’s Julia Child Award recipient.”
The jury has recognized Young for her important contributions to preserving and sharing Chinese culinary traditions through her roles as an author, historian and activist. Young has devoted her career to preserving Chinese home cooking and wok traditions and sharing her knowledge with home cooks in the U.S. Throughout her career, Grace has received six IACP awards and three James Beard Awards for her cookbooks, video projects, lifetime achievements and humanitarian efforts.
Growing up in California, Young’s love of cooking started at an early age when she would watch Julia Child on The French Chef and recreate her recipes for her family. It was Julia that inspired Young to pursue a career in food and explore her Chinese culinary heritage. Young devoted her career to creating accessible Chinese recipes for home cooks in the U.S., just as Julia did with French cuisine.
After years as the test kitchen director and director of food photography for Time Life Books, Young had a yearning to reconnect with the flavors of her childhood. She would spend the next few years traveling from New York to San Francisco to learn to cook her family’s traditional dishes. This cherished collection of recipes would become her first award-winning book, The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing.
As her exploration of Chinese cooking continued, Young spent many years preserving the tradition of cooking with a carbon-steel wok and sharing its value and importance with American home cooks. Now dubbed the “Wok Therapist,” Young co-authored the book, The Breath of a
Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore; created her renowned videos Wok Therapist and The Breath of a Wok; and runs a popular Facebook group titled “Wok Wednesdays.”
In 2006, Young began work on Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, a cookbook that empowers home cooks to stir-fry with confidence by illustrating the technique’s origins, uses and health benefits. Her work to preserve Chinese culinary traditions in America has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and television shows throughout her career.
As the pandemic unfolded,Young dedicated her time to preserving Chinatowns and AAPI mom and pop businesses across the country, reminding the public of how important Chinese and AAPI food is to the American culinary landscape. As a recipient of the 8th annual Julia Child Award, Grace will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to be given to a food-related nonprofit organization. Grace plans to use the grant to continue her support of Chinatown legacy restaurants and feed those in need within the community.
“Julia’s passion, wisdom and authenticity have been a guiding force throughout my culinary journey. I am truly honored to be receiving the Julia Child Award and am proud to have upheld Julia’s legacy by sharing my culinary heritage with millions of home cooks,” said Grace Young. “With the grant from the foundation, I look forward to continuing my work to support Chinatowns and sharing the importance of saving these rich communities that are an essential part of American life.”
The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts is one of the leading grant-giving private foundations dedicated solely to supporting the field of gastronomy and the culinary arts. The Foundation established the Julia Child Award in 2015 to foster Julia’s legacy, while also honoring an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.
To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.7 million to culinary-focused non-profit organizations across the country. Previous Award recipients include Toni Tipton-Martin, Danielle Nierenberg, José Andrés, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Danny Meyer, Rick Bayless and Jacques Pépin.
To learn more about the Foundation and its work, visit juliachildfoundation.org. To learn more about the Julia Child Award, including past recipients, visit juliachildaward.com.
About The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts
The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts was created by Julia in 1995 and became operational in 2004. Its mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation is a non-profit which makes 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. Since becoming operational, the Foundation has made more than $2.5 million in grants to other nonprofits. For more information, visit: juliachildfoundation.org.
About Food History at the National Museum of American History
Through research, programs, and collections, the Smithsonian Food History project at the National Museum of American History welcomes everyone to participate in exploring the history and ongoing significance of food cultures in the United States. By engaging in activities and conversations about food history, Museum audiences will gain a greater understanding of the roles they play, individually and collectively, in shaping the future of food production, distribution, and consumption. In addition to its foundational exhibition, “FOOD: Transforming the American Table,” the Museum has developed a diverse menu of programs and demonstrations that bring audiences together, virtually and in person, for relevant discussions that start with history and expand to the present and future of American food. As the home of Julia Child’s kitchen for 20 years, the National Museum of American History is committed to examining the impact of food, drink and agriculture on American history. The culmination of the museum’s food history offerings this year will be a hybrid event hosted by the museum Nov. 4 that will accompany the presentation of the 2021 Julia Child Award by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. More details to be released later this summer. Join us around the table and learn more at http://s.si.edu/FoodHistory. Most of the Smithsonian museums have recently reopened. For more information, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu.