by Steven Doyle
We all have some sort of memory with Julia Child, some from television and her program the French Chef, others from the many local book signings, and some from marvelous dining experiences right here in Dallas.
I spoke with Stephan Pyles some years ago who recounted several Julia stories, and he is tops in town with many experiences. Chef Pyles is owner of Flora Street and Stampede 66 along with a smattering of other restaurants across the states. He once told me a tale of having to re-fit his kitchen very last minute from electric to gas because that was her preferred cooking method. Chef Pyles was invited along with a handful of other chefs to cook along with five other chefs and it became a late night wine event that he later most likely regretted. Pyles is a teetotaler now.
A restaurant you may wish to get the Julia experience is Sonny Bryan’s. Perhaps not the BBQ mecca it once was when Sir Bryan owned the restaurant, but it was good enough for Dean Fearing who treated Julia to lunch seated in one of the provided school desks.
Fearing told us a story on CraveRadio a few years back:
We were setting up the next scene for a show and she was noodling around looking at my ingredients when she stuck her finger in the Tabasco, tasted it and suddenly started choking. She couldn’t catch her breath and everyone started running towards her including her producer, who jumped over the table. We sat her down in a chair and all I could think about was “I have just killed the Grande Dame of Cuisine and will probably be banned from cooking.”
Julia was fast friends with Paula Lambert of Deep Ellum’s Mozzarella Company and cooked together on more than one occasion and often would order cheese from Lambert.
courtesy of PBS
Phil Romano entertained Julia at his Nick and Sam and Matt Martinez II watched over as Julia enjoyed his chicken fried steak and queso along with Dallas Morning News contributor Kim Pierce. She also visited Romano’s Eatzi’s.
The proudest Dallas moment might have been when Julia judged chocolate cakes at the State Fair in 1996. Afterwards she enjoyed many of the same Fair foods you enjoy such as the corny dog, turkey leg and more.
I have had more than several visits with Julia Child, most in line at a book signing, one private for a handful of guests, another at a cooking demo. As someone who has a chance to meet these iconic stars on occasion meeting Julia is without a doubt the most memorable.