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Julia Child - The French Chef

91 customer reviews

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(Apr 26, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Cooking legend and cultural icon Julia Child, along with her pioneering public television series, The French Chef, introduced French cuisine to American kitchens. In her passionate and sometimes breathless way, Julia forever changed the way we cook, eat, and think about food.

Entertaining, fun, and real in a way that influenced every television cooking program that followed, The French Chef embraced Julia's passion for food and teaching and reflected her joie de vivre: "If I can do it, you can do it...and here's how to do it!"

Now chefs of all ages and abilities can share Julia's love of fine French food and learn to cook some of her most-loved dishes with this special collection of 18 episodes from her original 1960s series, The French Chef. In her signature style and with bloopers intact, Julia demonstrates such classic recipes as boeuf bourguignon from her debut show, salade Nicoise, bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise, mousseline au chocolat, and many more delicious dishes.

Bon appetit!

Three servings of practical cooking advice per one serving of nostalgia is the recipe for this 18-episode culinary collector’s item. The French Chef with Julia Child, the pioneering public television series which premiered in 1962, brought French cuisine to American kitchens without a dash of pretension. Child (1912-2004), a cooking legend and cultural icon with her 6’2" commanding-yet-self-deprecating presence, leads viewers through some of her favorite and classic recipes with requisite humor and congeniality. The three-disc compilation is divided into Starters and Side Dishes; Main Courses; and Desserts and Other Classics, and includes several printable recipes from each category. In vintage black and white, the collection begins with "The Potato Show" and Child’s sage counsel, "When you flip anything you must have the courage of your convictions," before she flips half of her sautéed potatoes onto the stovetop. Peppered throughout the collection are such reminders of why Child was so endearing: she let the camera roll through all her culinary disasters. In another show, "To Roast a Chicken," Child lines up five headless poultry as if arranging for a family photo, while earnestly discussing the differences between a fryer and a roaster, the "full glory of its chickendom." Even non-gourmands will find themselves captivated by such vintage entertainment, while passionate epicureans will relish step-by-step demonstrations of wonders such as boeuf bourguignon (from her debut show), salad Nicoise, bouillabaisse a la Marseillaise, and mousse au chocolat. (All ages) --Lynn Gibson

Special Features

Features include printable recipes from Julia Child's classic The French Chef Cookbook, and a bilbliography

Product Details

  • Actors: Julia Child
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2005
  • Run Time: 30 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006VXMHG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,539 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Julia Child - The French Chef" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

398 of 401 people found the following review helpful By A reader on April 28, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Most episodes are in black and white. It's definitely vintage television. Some shows I can find in her companion book, The French Chef - ISBN 0-345-42542-1; others like The Spinach Twins and French Fries I can't even find the individual recipes in the index let alone the show.

Each DVD contains a couple of printable recipes, and there's also a Julia Biography.

The 18 episodes on the three-disc DVD are:

Starters and Sidedishes

1. The potato show

2. Your own french onion soup

3. Bouilabaisse à la Marseillaise

4. The spinach twins

5. Salad Niçoise

6. French fries

Main Courses

1. Bœuf Bourguignon

2. To roast a chicken

3. The lobster show

4. To stuff a sausage

5. Tripes à la mode

6. The whole fish story

Baking, Desserts, and other Classics

1. Queen of sheba cake

2. Cheese and wine party

3. Apple dessert

4. Mouse au chocolat

5. The good loaf

6. The omelette show
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198 of 199 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 3, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
These `The French Chef' DVDs give us 18 episodes of this landmark Julia Child PBS series organized by course rather than by chronology. Among the first disc's side dishes are early (1960s) black and white episodes mixed in with later (1970s) color episodes. These confirm what we have read in Julia Child's biography that the early shows were Herculean feats of improvisation in front of a live TV camera in an improvised Boston (WGBH) studio, where there was no opportunity to edit out mistakes.

These episodes show how Child really set the standard for the TV cooking show and invented almost all the conventions we see nowadays from the likes of Paula Deen, Giada DeLaurentiis, and Emeril Lagasse (in his no-audience `Essence of Emeril' shows). It also shows where show creators such as Alton Brown and Rachael Ray have created great shows primarily by breaking out of Julia Child's prototype.

While the contemporary TV culinarians still follow Julia's lead, it is amazing to see how so many of Julia's shows still do a better job with their subject. For starters, you get the full 30 minutes of material per episode. You don't get 22 minutes of material with three interruptions for commercials and promotions. You also get complete shows on a single dish, albeit relatively complicated dishes like the classic `Salade Nicoise'. After four years of watching the Food Network virtually on a daily basis, I recall no show, even from the more classicly oriented hosts such as Martha Stewart or Ina Garten, dealing with a complete composed salad.

The `Salade Nicoise' is composed of at least three major and two or three minor tasks. Making the potato salad alone takes practically half the show.
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110 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Christine Murphy on August 30, 2005
Format: DVD
One of the many things that I love about Julia is that she was a REAL person. She made mistakes, and they were never edited out. That alone made her shows and recipes much less intimidating for the average home cook to try.

This DVD set is such a treat, and it's about time PBS got off their bums and released these shows! My only gripe (and it's a VERY minor one) is that there is no *Play All* have to play one episode at a time, then it goes back to the menu, and you have to reach for the clicker again. Otherwise, this is a wonderful set.

I hope that this sells very well, so that PBS will want to release more sets. I know that I would buy every single one of them!
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68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 25, 2005
Format: DVD
This is indeed a magical set. Julia's was the very first PBS cooking show, and these episodes demonstrate why the genre caught on so well. Julia is incredibly entertaining, and the lessons she teaches as she goes along are invaluable to anyone who likes to cook (e.g. how to sharpen and use a knife).

To correct a few things that have been written by others:

1) Five of these episodes are in black and white; 13 are in color.

2) The version of "Boeuf Bourguignon" included here is not the first show. That show is lost. Episode 96 is the redo version that still exists.

3) Recipes from black and white episodes are found in the book The French Chef Cookbook. Recipes from the color episodes are found in the book From Julia Child's Kitchen.

4) 134 black and white episodes were made, but some have been lost. This collection is chosen from the 119 existing black and white episodes and the 72 color episodes that were made. Thus, there are a total of 191 existing episodes of The French Chef.

This set of 18 shows leaves me hungry for the other 173! Thank goodness Volume 2 is coming soon!
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By G. Lasswell on March 24, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I knew I would love learning from Julia's shows and see lots of techniques but I had no idea how hilarious these shows are. Julia has a dry humor and a delightful way of handling mishaps but the burned french onion soup and the tart that flipped out of the pan and onto the counter were the best!! No one on the food network would let you see how to do this part of cooking. I'm too young to have seen the shows first hand so there are all new to me. Julia said in an interview once that she always considered herself a cooking teacher and she is. The dish being prepared is just the vehicle to teach about everything from how to shop for food to how important it is to keep your area clean and tidy. And did you know that apples must be stirred with a "purple spoon?" Everything that I make from these DVDs is great and has become a kitchen regular. I recommend them for entertainment, education and a good laugh.
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