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this week ~ Culinary Arts Month
july 17, 2015

A good recipe travels as far, and fast, as a good joke.
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take a bite!

It's the season of ripe tomatoes, berries and sweet corn. No surprise, July is also Culinary Arts Month.

These celebrated chefs + cookbook pioneers have spent their delicious careers serving up national cuisines ~ of Cuba, France and China ~ to legions of foodies. They show how a good recipe not only travels far, it reminds us of who we are and offers a taste of our heritage to the world.

Here are a few stories that are food for thought.


Nitza Villapol
the queen of Cuban cuisine

nitza villapol newsletter

"Cooking–surely–is an art, an art for every nation, a minor art that forms part of the culture of the people."
source it!

~ a Manhattan girl born to Cuban immigrants who moved back to the island in 1933

~ a lifelong Fidelista who supported the Cuban Revolution + Castro regime

~ an iconic cook + tv personality with the longest-airing cooking program on the small screen

Nitza Villapol's popular show Cocina al Minuto first aired almost a decade before the 1959 communist revolution in Cuba. It continued to run for more than 3 decades afterward, serving up countless helpings of her signature black beans + picadillo.

During her television tenure, Nitza personified Cuban cooking ~ preserving + redefining the traditional island diet heavy in meats + starches. As a trained nutritionist and educator, she wanted people to eat their vegetables. As a staunch patriot, the people's chef cheerfully adapted her recipes to fit the current rations...even when ingredients were especially scarce during the food shortages that followed the 1991 fall of the island's main ally, the USSR.

Discover more from Nitza's classic cookbooks...texts so precious that they were smuggled off the island, often becoming cherished gifts at Cuban weddings...

nitza villapol

Julia Child
the French Chef


"The pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite–toujours bon appétit!"
source it! Julia Child

~ a Pasadena science lover + Smith grad...who was by no means a natural in the kitchen

~ a government researcher who became interested in food culture while serving in Ceylon during WWII

~ the original celebrity chef + Emmy winner whose kitchen is preserved for posterity at the Smithsonian in DC

The American woman who failed her first exam at Paris's celebrated École Cordon Bleu went on to be the most famous proponent of French cuisine. Having experienced failure herself, the dauntless Julia Child was eager to take the "bugaboo" out of Continental cooking for the rest of us.

Her 1961 magnum opus ~ Mastering the Art of French Cooking ~ quickly landed her a gig on public television after some promotional demos spurred an immediate fan following.

Julia kicked off her iconic live show The French Chef with boeuf bourguignon. Audiences tuned in to see her pragmatic instruction + infectious enthusiasm brought to everything from paté to soufflé. The seasoned chef hosted her last original series in 2000 at age 88.

Discover more about the first lady of cooking's foundation + its mission to promote culinary education for all...

Julia Child

Grace Young
the poet laureate of the wok


"Preserve your culinary legacy. Someday those recipes could be the one link we have to reach our loved ones."
source it! Grace Young

~ a San Fran kid raised by Cantonese home cooks who began an apprenticeship with a French cooking teacher at age 13

~ the director of the test kitchen + food photography for 40 Time-Life cookbooks

~ a stir-fry master + author of 3 award-winning cookbooks

Grace Young may have been inspired to become a chef by Julia Child, but her earliest culinary influences were her parents. Both were experts at fare inspired by the beautifully contrasting flavors of "yin-yang cooking." Today, Grace carries on their legacy. The traditional dishes she prepares kindle memories for her mother who's living with dementia.

Grace's volumes of stir-fry recipes have given rise to a club {Wok Wednesdays} + earned their author multiple awards ~ including a nod from the James Beard Foundation for the best international cookbook. Each recipe ~ from hot pepper beef to stir-fried mussels ~ also comes with a story that honors the chef's ancestors and shares the wisdom of their kitchens with the world.

An advocate for health + wellness, Grace has developed wholesome recipes for Eating Well, Cooking Light and Weight Watchers. Find out more about how to walk the wok with Grace...

grace young

books for cooks
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The Breath Wok Grace Young
mastering the art french cooking
my life france julia child
hate to cook book 50th anniversary
wisdom chinese kitchen grace young

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