Cooking with Julia (POV)

Posted by Ed - 14/02/09 at 11:02 pm

In the April 1979 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, the one with the pineapple slice dipped in chocolate on the cover, our weekend cooking school, Cookery at the Cove, was written up as the featured cooking school. After that we had no problem filling our classes and many times we had a waiting list. Things were going good.  With the happiness of success in the pre-food channel days, I visited  Jack Schneider, my partner and founder of the cooking school at his Village Cookery Shop and asked him, “With all this success we could get anyone to cook with us, who would you choose?” Jack a generation older squinted his eye brows and said with emphatic emotion, Julia Child-that’s who I would like to cook with!”

“Well I don’t think she has ever cooked in someone else’s cooking school before so I will think about it.” I said as I headed out the door. I called Boston and found that Julia and Paul were in Europe and would return in September which gave us about a week to prepare the proposal.

Looking at this from Julia’s point of view, I imagined walking into her Cambridge second floor flat exhausted and glad to be home.  She would probably not look at mail for a day or two while recovering.  With that in mind,  I created this  strategy:

  • Our package had to arrive shortly after they recovered from the Europe trip and before local activity like TV Cooking Shows picked up.
  • The package had to look interesting and fun
  • The entire proposal had to be short, clear,  concise and easily fit on  one page.
  • The offer had to be fun and clear about what we were asking for.
  • We would basically take care of everything and she would just have to show up and have fun.
  • The offer had to be so clear that she only had two choices ‘Yes or No’
  • I asked Jack to figure out what was the most money that we could possibly pay her so we could make our best flat fee offer.

A week later, we got a handwritten letter from Julia.  Both of us were at the shop when it arrived. Like two kids opening an anticipated Christmas gift, Jack did the opening. Looking up he said, she would be glad to cook with us.

We flew to Cambridge about a week later to have lunch with Julia and review the menu for the weekend. The rest was history,  she returned to Cookery at the Cove three times.


10 Responses to “Cooking with Julia (POV)”

  1. Benji says:
    February 21st, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    Very impressive example of how it is possible to accomplish what most would consider impossible. This reminds me of an expert from Tim Ferriss’s “Four hour work week” where he talks about speaking at Princeton and giving the students a challenge for something like $10,000 to contact someone famous and no one succeeded because they didn’t know where to begin. I like how you broke down the different steps you were thinking of when you invited Ms. Child to your Cooking retreat. It shows how even famous people are just like the rest of us and have point of views similar to ours.

  2. Ed says:
    March 12th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Since I started this blog, I have been thinking a lot about the other person’s Point Of View especially when I want a positive response. My goal is win win so both people are happy. It helps to have thought things through before serious conversations.

    Not that I’m always right but I as think about how I would feel as the other person I am in a better position to respond.

    Also, there is divine support. We didn’t know it but God did that Julia had another home in Santa Barbara, CA and our first cooking venture was before Christmas. This was a perfect time to leave the wintry cold of Cambridge and go to California. It could be looked at as a bonus expense paid vacation for Julia, Paul and her California friend and assistant Rosemary. But we knew she had fun because she came back three times. edb

  3. CALDWELL says:
    April 29th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Unfortunately, the only thing that I can make in the kitchen is a mess.

  4. GarykPatton says:
    June 16th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    How soon will you update your blog? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue.

    Julia passed away but to all who knew her or even saw her on TV, she will be in our hearts forever. My recent post advertises the movie Julie and Julia and i can’t wait until it is released. The ad captures the Julia I cooked with and I’m looking forward to more of the same in the movie. eb 7/16/09

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