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Vail Valley chefs channel Julia Child

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyJenna Johansen, chef/owner of Dish!, slices potatoes for mashed potatoes Tuesday in her Edwards restaurant. Dish's menu will include a Julia Child special dinner through Saturday.
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VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -As a kid, the first time Vail Valley chef Caroline Shaw saw Julia Child on television, her high-pitched, nasally voice scared her.”But my mom had all her cookbooks and I kept watching,” said Shaw, a line cook at Dish! restaurant in Edwards. “It became like my Saturday morning cartoon.”If Child were still alive (she died in 2004 at age 91) she’d turn 97 this week and to celebrate, Dish! is cooking up a Julia Child storm. There’s olive tapenade served on a hard-cooked egg to start. Next is classic chilled vichyssoise, a potato and leek soup. Ever a fan of buttery tarts, the spinach, ham and mushroom tartlet might make Child herself swoon. The pei mussels, served with a buttery white wine, garlic, parsley sauce and skinny, crisp French fries is rich and delicious, and the beouf bourguignon, Child’s favorite red wine beef stew served over creamy mashed potatoes, is the ultimate comfort food. A Palisade peach fruit tartlet with marscarpone cheese for dessert finishes the meal.

pioneer in pearlsThe food is rich, which is no surprise considering the labor and time-intensive recipes in Child’s two-volume, nearly 750-page cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” are rife with cream, bacon and especially butter. Dish! chefs have been staying true to Child’s recipes, down to the last stick of butter. “Yes, we’ve used much, much more butter than usual,” said Dish co-owner/executive chef Jenna Johansen, who is sporting pearls this week in honor of the pioneering chef who always wore pearls. “And normally we don’t shy away from butter – we make our own butter here for goodness sake.”But it’s important to Johansen to stay true to Child’s legacy, she said. “This is the first menu I’ve done where there are no substitutions,” Johansen said. “I’m not going to compromise the menu – if they can’t have the full menu, they can’t have it.”This isn’t the first time Johansen’s channeled Child in the kitchen. In honor of Child’s 90th birthday, she made beouf bourguignon for 100 people at a dinner for the American Institute of Wine and Food held in Denver. “I’m a big fan of Julia’s – I always have been,” Johansen said. “People interviewed her and she always said ‘I’m just a chef, not a woman chef, a chef.’ But she did a huge service for cooking shows and for women. She was a pioneer.”

The recent release of the film “Julie & Julia” has certainly boosted Child’s cookbooks sales. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” sold 22,000 copies in most recent week tracked, according to Nielsen BookScan It also will debut at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list on Aug. 30 in the advice and how-to category, according to a New York TImes story, “After 48 Years, Julia Child Has a Big Best Seller, Butter and All,” published Aug. 23.Plenty of people have been trekking to the Bookworm of Edwards searching for the cookbook, which was first published in 1961, said marketing coordinator Besse Lynch.”We have a waiting list a mile long for it,” Lynch said. “As soon as the movie was released, people started coming in, asking if we had it. And we did, at that time we had a couple but we sold out within a day or two. Now the book is on back order from the publisher all over the country.”And while Random House, the book’s publisher, isn’t giving out a timeline as to when it’ll ship more books, Lynch is hoping to “get some in the next few days,” she said. Lynch expected some other books penned by Child, including “My Life in France,” “The Way to Cook” and “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom” will be back in stock by today, she said. People who dine on the “Salute to Julia Child” menu at Dish! this week will receive a 10 percent off coupon for any of the books authored by or about Child at the Bookworm of Edwards. As Child would say, Bon Apetit!High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

What: Julia & Julie “Salute to Julia Child” dinnersWhere: Dish Restaurant, EdwardsWhen: Every night through SaturdayCost: $35 for six-course tasting menuMore information: Call 970-926-3433 or visit http://www.eatdrinkdish.com


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