Joan Vieweger and I were the co-hosts on ABC’s The Food Show for 5½ years. Julia Child was a frequent guest when she was in Los Angeles. After all, who would ever turn Julia down if she asked to be on your show? There was just one problem, every time she was in studio for a pre-record, Joan was traveling. It became a joke. Our talented editor was able to ask Joan questions on her return and then edit the segment so it was seamless—it always looked like Ed, Joan and Julia were in the studio together.
Several years later in the lobby of the Fairmount Hotel in Chicago, Julia spotted me off to the side and ran over full tilt leaving her small entourage behind, demanding to know in that booming voice of hers, “Ed is Joan here? Is Joan here? I want to meet Joan.” The two of them finally met and Julia, being the gracious grand dame of food hugged Joan in her arms until she tuned blue. You would have thought that Julia and Joan were long lost cousins.
Here is the difference… one of the most creative, talented and giving ladies of our industry found the time to go out of her way to meet a fellow foodie—an admirer of hers—and treat her as an equal. This made a lasting impression that Joan still talks about today.
Julia always had respect for the food and respect for the people who worked in the industry and was a genuinely super wonderful person. Contrast that with some of the “superstar” chefs and food critics who populate the reality food shows today who, while entertaining to some, denigrate our industry, the young chefs working to make a name for themselves and all we stand for.
Here’s a toast to Julia. Hip, hip hooray!