The Julia Child Challenge: New Series Inspired by a Food Icon

The tribute to all things Julia starts Monday, March 14 at 9|8c and streams the same day on discovery+.

Photo by: Melissa Libertelli

Melissa Libertelli

Julia Child is a true icon who inspired generations of home cooks with her talent, enthusiasm and humor, and 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 at 9|8c 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, Illinois); Jaíne Mackievicz (Oceanside, California); Brit Moore (New York, New York); Dustin Rennells (Chillicothe, Missouri); Elena Ross-Salonga (Cambria, California) and Fabrizio Villalpando (Los Angeles, California).

Working in conjunction with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts to ensure this series reflects Julia’s incredible 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 a giant television screen in the middle of the action. 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 Julia herself on the giant screen. To kick things off, head judge Antonia Lofaso 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: Molly Baz, Stephanie Boswell, Alvin Cailan, Cliff Crooks, Susan Feniger, Dorie Greenspan, Melissa King, Nilou Motamed, Jacques Pepin, Sherry Yard and Brooke Williamson.

Mark your calendars — The Julia Child Challenge premieres Monday, March 14 at 9|8c on Food Network and streams the same day on discovery+.

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