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Inspired by food icon, 'The Julia Child Challenge' gives extraordinary home cooks chance to follow in their hero's footsteps


Wed, Feb 16th 2022 02:50 pm

8 Julia Child superfans compete for ultimate grand prize: 3-month, all-expenses paid trip to cooking school in Paris

√ Premiering Monday, March 14, on Food Network & discovery+

Julia Child is a true icon who inspired generations of home cooks with her talent, enthusiasm and humor. In “The Julia Child Challenge,” eight top-notch home cooks compete in high-stakes culinary challenges to find out who has the fire, skill and passion to win the first-ever primetime competition series dedicated to all things Julia. The competitors, all Julia Child superfans, share personal stories about their hero, cook in a kitchen recreated in the likeness of where Julia herself cooked, using the same ingredients Julia used, and are even guided by Julia herself, through a larger-than-life television screen right in the middle of all the action. 

Head judge Antonia Lofaso and a rotating panel of guest judges including Molly Baz, Cliff Crooks and Brooke Williamson ultimately decide who wins the life-changing grand prize that literally follows in Julia’s footsteps: an all-expense paid, three-month cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu. The series premieres Monday, March 14 (9 p.m. ET/PT), on Food Network and streams the same day on discovery+.

“Julia Child is a culinary hero to cooks everywhere – her love of food and sense of humor set the tone for this one-of-a-kind competition. From the kitchen set to Julia’s own words, the level of detail in each episode can only be described as mind-blowing,” said Courtney White, president, Food Network and streaming food content, Discovery Inc. “At the same time, the series is also very intimate, with competitors sharing their personal food journeys and how Julia Child changed their lives. We cannot wait for viewers to experience this show.”

The competitors are: Bill Borman (Hudson, New York); Christine Fiorentino (Hoboken, New Jersey); Dustin Hogue (Chicago); Jaine Mackievitz (Worcester, Massachusetts); Brit Moore (New York City); Dustin Rennells (Charlestown, Massachusetts); Elena Ross-Salonga (Cambria, California) and Fabrizio Villalpando (Los Angeles).

Working in conjunction with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts to ensure this series reflects Julia’s talent and heart, each episode features two rounds of competitive cooking: The first-round masters the basics and challenges the competitors to recreate one of Julia’s signature dishes, with some guidance from Julia herself, as seen on TV. Round two is an ode to Julia, where competitors must take inspiration from Julia to create a unique dish reflecting their own culinary point of view. Round two dishes are served family-style, with competitors and judges sampling each dish and sharing stories about their food and personal connection to Julia. Based on performance, the judges name one winner and send one competitor home each week, until the last cook standing is awarded the ultimate grand prize.

In the series premiere, eight competitors enter the kitchen in awe and are welcomed by virtual Julia. To kick things off, Antonia and guest judges Michael Voltaggio and Francis Lam challenge the competitors to use their skills and imagination to make one of the French dishes that changed Julia’s life: sole meunière. In round two’s ode to Julia, the competitors must share their own culinary journey by recreating the meal that changed their own culinary life. After sharing those dishes and the stories behind them, the judges name one overall episode winner and the first competitor is sent home.

Upcoming guest judges include: Stephanie Boswell, Alvin Cailan, Susan Feniger, Dorie Greenspan, Melissa King, Nilou Motamed, Jacques Pepin and Sherry Yard.

Meet the home cooks and get a sneak peek behind the scenes at FoodNetwork.com/TheJuliaChildChallenge. Each week on the digital companion series “Inspired By: The Julia Child Challenge,” Antonia serves up dishes that are her take on the competition. Join the conversation and get exclusive content with the judges on social using #TheJuliaChildChallenge.

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