Julia Child literally wrote the book on French cooking, and now her home in Provence will become a destination for gourmands who want to improve their game in the kitchen. The home has been purchased by a "self-employed business strategist and life coach," reports Boston Magazine, who will turn the space into "a cooking retreat with excursions in yoga."
"The focus is on cooking French food, for sure, and really, on the Julia Child way of cooking: The no-holds barred, ‘Look at that omelet!' style of cooking," Makenna Johnston told Boston. "Our goal is to really take out some of the anxiety that comes with big messes, especially for new-ish cooks."
Child and her husband Paul built the house, which she called "La Pitchoune" ("the little one"), in 1963, and they spent time there until the early '90s. It was sold to Kathie Alex in 1993 and converted into a cooking school. Alex put the house on the market last November, and Johnston was moved by the terrorist attacks in Paris to put in a bid: "When [that] happened, I started thinking about how Julia Child was a total peacenik," Johnston told the magazine. "She worked for the government, and the best word from back then is she was very democratic. She was very involved in improving communities through food."
The new facility will continue to bear the name La Pitchoune, and it reportedly will begin hosting guests and volunteers in May. Johnston wants it to be a place where people rediscover the idea of creating a fine meal at home, instead of dining out: "Our goal is to bring good cooking back. So many people spend so much money and time going out to eat. If you can bring it back into the home and entertaining, it's a very different life."
Like so many American amateur cooks, Johnston says her passion derived from The French Chef, Child's public television cooking show. She and her wife hope the retreat will carry on the icon's legacy.