Julia was a grande dame of cuisine. I first met her in the late ’70s when I was working as a sous-chef in Boston. She came in for dinner, I introduced myself, and she was gracious enough to say, ”Why don’t you create an appetizer for me?” So I made her periwinkles in champagne sauce, and she loved it.
I saw her years later in Santa Barbara, when we were both working at a resort, and there was a Mexican place she must have talked about for two days — not Tex-Mex but a real authentic hole-in-the-wall. Finally, a bunch of us drove there, and we ended up ordering 40 tacos made one way, 20 tacos another way. She was always curious about different pockets of culinary culture.
Julia never acted like she knew it all. The second time that she was on my show, she wanted me to talk about how to make a hamburger the right way. She had so much to teach people about cuisine, and she always had passion to learn. (Child died of kidney failure in Santa Barbara, Calif.)