Before many of our celebrity chefs were even born, Julia Child launched the television cooking craze that has helped perpetuate today's food-centered networks and culinary personalities.
Child, who died at age 91 in 2004, became an unlikely celebrity chef following the 1961 publication of her book "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." The cookbook was followed up with television appearances that launched her to international fame, setting the stage for future celebrity chefs. Sure, most of us aren't going to try our hand at Child's Boeuf Bourguignon or Lobster Thermidor anytime soon, but it's nice to know we have the option!
Child's celebrity status continued to thrive long after her passing with the release of the major motion picture "Julie & Julia," based on a book about an everyday woman who committed herself to the daunting task of cooking every recipe found in "Mastering." Although Child expressed mixed opinions of the book (the movie was released after her death), it helped introduce her work and remarkable persona to a new generation of fans.