Thursday, August 2, 2012


I was assigned to write about Julia Child Restaurant Week (Aug. 7 - Aug. 15) by the New York Post, and got a chance to interview all the local participating chefs, including Michael White (Marea), Carmen Quagliata (Union Square Cafe), Claude Godard  (Jeanne & Gaston and Madison Bistro), Marcus Ware (Aureole) and Jody Williams (Buvette). Because of space issues, we couldn't keep this great anecdote from Quagliata on meeting the JC in Napa Valley:

In the late 1990s, Carmen Quagliata was working a packed house at Tra Vigne, a popular Italian restaurant in California’s Napa Valley, when Julia Child stopped by for dinner. “It was like having a dignitary in the restaurant,” says Quagliata, now executive chef at Union Square CafĂ©. “I was running the service when she appeared in the kitchen. We all stopped. The tickets were slipping to the floor." Child then walked around, spending five minutes meeting with each cook, saying things like, ‘Keep it up, it’s a great profession.’"

Qualgliata was stunned. 

"She understood her role, and was so kind and encouraging to a bunch of sweaty scrubs -- I mean, hardworking line cooks. It was magical.” 

(Pictured, at top, mousse au chocolate  @Buvette. Below, roast duck with cracklins, plum sauce and yellow peaches @Union Square Cafe.)