Postal Service Releases Julia Child and Joyce Chen Stamps

From Boston Magazine – September 25, 2014

‘Celebrity Chefs Forever’ stamp features two Cambridge culinary icons

This Friday (September 26), in a ceremony in Chicago, the United States Postal Service will release its “Celebrity Chefs Forever” series featuring James Beard, Edna Lewis, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, and two Cambridge culinary icons: Julia Child and Joyce Chen.

Child’s and Chen’s portraits were provided to the Postal Service by the Julia Child Foundation and the Chen family. The stamps were designed by art director Greg Breeding and feature digital illustrations by Jason Seiler, depicting the chefs in a style intended to resemble oil paintings.

[block]2[/block]Julia Child

Child is best known for demystifying French cuisine for an American audience through her two-volume book set, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and extremely popular television shows, The French Chef, Dinner at Julia’s, and the Emmy-winning In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs.

Child filmed episodes of The French Chef through 1966, which earned a Peabody Award and a 1966 Primetime Emmy. In 1981, she co-founded the American Institute of Wine and Food, and a decade later she and Jacques Pépin worked with Boston University to help create a graduate program in gastronomy. In 1996, TV Guide named Child one of the 50 greatest TV stars of all time.

[block]3[/block]Joyce Chen

Joyce Chen might not receive the same attention as Child, but was just as influential, promoting northern-style Chinese cuisine at a time when soy sauce was considered exotic. From her landmark Joyce Chen Restaurant, which opened on Concord Avenue in Cambridge in 1958, to her cookbooks and trailblazing PBS television show, Chen introduced unfamiliar dishes such as Peking duck, moo shu pork, and hot-and-sour soup.

At her restaurant, Chen popularized the now ubiquitous buffet-style dinner service. Through her popular cooking classes and her Joyce Chen Cook Book, she taught hundreds of recipes and as well as tips on proper chopstick usage, the importance of tea, and the preparation of perfect rice. In the decade following, Chen’s cookbook sold more than 70,000 copies.

WGBH eventually asked Chen to host her own show, Joyce Chen Cooks. Filmed in the late 1960s, the show is credited with greatly expanding America’s interest in and knowledge of Chinese food and culture. Chen died of Alzheimer’s disease in Lexington in 1994 and was posthumously included in the James Beard Foundation Hall of Fame.

 

5 thoughts on “Postal Service Releases Julia Child and Joyce Chen Stamps

  1. Frank . . . I don’t remember Julia doing a show from the Cambridge studio. I directed a boring live book review show called I’ve Been Reading in 1963 from the Catholic TV Center. This is where we set up after the fire. Julia showed up as a guest. She was promoting her new cook book and decided she wanted to make an omelet on air, I told her she couldn’t but she did anyway, and that was the beginning of the French Chef. It was a night I’ll always remember.

    • Julia Child’s first shows were from the Museum of Science studios, where WGBH was some months after the fire, with the Ford Foundation’s donated B&W TV cameras, 400-lb monsters….. I know because, as a volunteer I typed her teleprompter scripts in 1/4-inch-high letters on yellow ticker paper rolls, and as my reward I was entitled to turn the potentiometer to roll the script as she was reading it.

  2. I was lighting director for WGBH-TV, and designed the lighting for the first television show, and series that Julia Child did in the studio in Cambridge: it was the studio that later burned down.

    • Well, not quite so Frank. Julia first appeared (on WGBH) as a guest on Al iDuhamel’s show: I’ve Been Reading. That was after we burned the station down thus it was taped in the studios of The Catholic TV center at BU. Her pilots were then developed and we produced them at the Boston Gas Company (now the Univ of MA) in Park Square Boston Globe. Thereafter, we created a proper set for her in a warehouse in Cabmridge not far from the new studio, a building up the street on Western Ave/Allston.
      YrPalRuss

  3. I was lighting director for WGBH-TV, and designed the lighting for the first television show, and series, that Julia Child did in the studio in Cambridge: it was the studio that later burned down.

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