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Chef John Cooks His Greatest French Hits for Julia Child's BD

Happy Birthday, dear Julia! On August 15, cooks around the globe will pay tribute to the world's most famous home cook. That's right. Julia Child always insisted she was a cook, not a chef. Yes, she wrote intricate, detailed cookbooks and was the host of many ground-breaking cooking shows back before cooking shows were on 24/7. If you read those books, or watch the shows, you'll clearly see her mission was to inspire every day cooks to have some fun in the kitchen. Don't worry if you mess up. It happens.

650 x 465 Julia Child by PBS

Photo via PBS

As a tasty tribute to the beloved icon, we've rounded up a seriously scrumptious meal from another inspiring cook, Chef John. Growing up, chef John said "I used to sit in front of the TV as a kid watching her show, completely transfixed, which helped start my journey to being a chef." These top-rated recipes offer proof that French food doesn't have to be an ordeal. Maybe there's a teeny bit more prepping involved, and another step, or three. But, boy, is it worth the effort. Bon appetit! Enjoy!!

Appetizer

Salt cod is something sailors and Scandanavians lived on through brutal winters, but it's become the darling of the chef set for adding a unique fish flavor and soft texture to dishes such as Brandade. Scoop up some of this haute potato dip with a crostini and one bite should convince you that those French know how to make stinky fish taste like heaven.

First Course

Classic French Onion Soup can take days to make. Between roasting bones for a long-simmered beef stock and sweating over caramelizing onions, it's an endeavor. Fortunately, Chef John has created an Easy French Onion Soup that's still plenty fancy enough for guests.

Second Course: Seafood

A few bites of some beautiful fish sets your appetite up for the main meaty event. Of course, this course can also serve as an entree, streamlining the process. But if you're celebrating Julia, go BIG. Salmon in parchment is a lot like an inclusive sheet pan dinner, including potatoes and asparagus while Coquilles Saint-Jacques stands alone impressively.

Salmon in parchment

Salmon in parchment | Photo by Meredith

Main Course

Please raise your drumstick if you're a fan of the turf portion of this feast. OK, then, we've got a couple of meat-y treats: Coq au Vin, and Beef Bourguignon (Without the Fancy French Wine) are the most popular French dishes of all time. These renditions a pretty darned easy to prep, the chicken's good to go in about 15 minutes, while the beef will take under 30 minutes to get oven ready. Then, sit back, relax, sip a glass of wine and let the dramatic aromas fill your kitchen. Or, take that extra time saved to whip up a batch of Duck Fat Steak Fries or Fondant Potatoes. Bravo!

Chef John Coq au Vin

Photo by Chef John

Dessert

A simple green salad could possibly precede this final course, but let's not overdo. When it comes to show-stopping pastries, nobody outshines the French. Just consider the tres adorbs Peach Financier cakes, the dazzling Grand Marnier Souffle or the elegant Cherry Clafoutis. Oui, oui! Julia would be so pleased, don't you agree?

For more inspiration, please check out more than 450 French recipes, as well as Julia's BFF Jacques Pepin's Allrecipes profile page.

About Leslie Kelly

Always hungry to learn, never had my fill of oysters, Memphis dry rub ribs, wild salmon, chocolate chip cookies or a well-rolled lumpia. Washington state wine lover, bourbon fan. Totally obsessed with brunch!