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Julia Child Receives French Award

November 20, 2000

BOSTON (AP) _ Before Julia Child declared herself a French chef, haute cuisine was seen by Americans as a chore, not an art.

But the European kitchen took on new appeal in the United States after the California native went to Paris and published her first cookbook.

On Sunday, Child became the first U.S. chef to receive the French government’s highest award, the Legion of Honor.

``I am very, very proud,″ said the 88-year-old chef.

The award was presented to Child by restaurateur Roger Fessaguet, who is a knight in the Legion, during a black-tie ceremony.

``Before Julia Child, America was still a meat and potatoes country,″ Fessaguet said. ``She helped to make cooking the culture it is today.″

Born in Pasadena, Calif., Child moved to Paris with her husband after World War II, and received her culinary training at the Cordon Bleu.

In 1961, she published her first book, ``Mastering the Art of French Cooking.″ Soon after, she began her PBS series, ``The French Chef,″ and years later recorded a ``Master Chef″ series. More recently she has been host of a 39-part series called ``Baking at Julia’s″ and cohost of ``Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home″ with Jacques Pepin.