The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts (the Foundation) announces the first annual Julia Child Award to honor an individual who has improved how Americans think about what they cook, eat, and drink. The award was created to continue to foster Julia Child’s legacy.

The Foundation will present the Award in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a gala to be held in conjunction with the museum’s inaugural Food History Weekend in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2015. The winner will be announced on or around August 15, 2015 (Julia Child’s birthday) and will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation provided to a 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.
Award Selection Process

Newly appointed Award Director Tanya Wenman Steel will oversee the recipient selection process and juror coordination. Ms. Steel is the former editor-in-chief of Epicurious and Gourmet Live, and CEO of Cooking Up Big Dreams. The recipient will be selected from a private shortlist by an independent jury of five esteemed food industry professionals appointed by the Trustees of the Foundation.

The members of the jury include:
  • Jury Chair, Jim Dodge, Director of Specialty Culinary Programs for Bon Appetit Management Company.
  • Darra Goldstein, The Wilcox B. and Harriet M Adsit Professor of Russian at Williams College.
  • Russ Parsons, Food columnist and former Food Editor at the Los Angeles Times
  • Nancy Silverton, co-owner of Osteria Mozza, Pizzeria Mozza, Mozza2Go, and Chi Spacca in California and Singapore.
  • Jasper White, owner/executive chef of Jasper White’s Summer Shack restaurants in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The Foundation also announces a public design competition for the new Julia Child Award, which will be presented to the recipient at the gala. Proposal requirements can be downloaded from the Media Center on The deadline for proposals is April 24, 2015. The selected designer will be publicly announced in May 2015.

“The Trustees’ goal is to recognize accomplishments made in the spirit of Julia,” said Eric W. Spivey, Chairman of the Foundation. “We believe that shining a spotlight each year on one individual making significant contributions in gastronomy and the culinary arts, and in turn improving American society, will be a meaningful way of honoring Julia’s legacy.”

“Julia brought her spirit directly into the kitchens of millions of people,” Spivey added. “She made cooking fun and approachable, while at the same time encouraging excellence. This award supports her commitment to educate and encourage others and we hope it will provide a tangible legacy of her passion for the joys of cooking and eating well.”

The award will be presented at a gala evening at the kickoff event to the Food History Weekend, on Thursday, October 22, 2015 at the National Museum of American History. Proceeds from the gala will help support programs, exhibitions and research for the museum’s American Food History Project.

“Julia Child is a national treasure who transformed the way that Americans think about food and introduced so many to its glorious possibilities,” said John Gray, director of the museum. “The National Museum of American History is proud to be the home of Julia’s kitchen and we are honored to be the home for the presentation of this prestigious award.”

Additional information about the Julia Child Award can be found on

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 as a grant giving private foundation. Through its support of other non-profit organizations whose work advances matters Julia valued, the foundation honors her lifelong love of learning, her farreaching impact as a teacher and mentor, and her passion for gastronomy and the culinary arts.

Julia Child’s Kitchen at the National Museum of American History

In 2001, Julia Child donated her entire kitchen to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Painstakingly reassembled on the first floor of the museum, the kitchen symbolizes Julia Child’s tremendous impact on food and culinary history in America. She has inspired generations of home cooks and chefs to try unfamiliar foods and flavors, master new culinary techniques and expand their ideas about the American table.

Today, as the home of Julia Child’s kitchen, and in her spirit, the National Museum of American History is committed to continuing the discussion of food and drink in America. Through research, collecting and strategic partnerships, the museum’s American Food History Project creates programs, exhibitions and events to engage the public in an exploration of American food history and understand the role they play in shaping the future of food in America. Specifically, on July 1, 2015, the museum will be opening the Wallace H. Coulter Demonstration Plaza with a professional kitchen, where live programs will be presented for all audiences. Following this, in August, the American Food History Project will announce plans for its inaugural Food History Weekend to be held in the fall. As Julia Child influenced culinary history and foodways in America, the museum will use its exciting, new menu of programs and demonstrations to connect audiences to their past and their future through food. For more information visit:

The National Museum of American History

Through incomparable collections, rigorous research and dynamic public outreach, the National Museum of American History explores the infinite richness and complexity of American history. The museum helps people understand the past in order to make sense of the present and shape a more humane future. For more information, visit The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.