Binge’s new drama about chef Julia Child’s life is a tasty treat

Julia
Foxtel, frenzy
★★★★

In American culture, the name Julia Child is synonymous with food. The author of Master the art of French cuisineand later a television personality with the pioneering 1963 series The French cookshe is remembered for her culinary enthusiasm and her almost false voice.

It has found new fame, along with US public television painting professor Bob Ross, over the past decade as a proliferation of content-hungry second-tier streaming services unearthed and showcased vintage TV programming. .

Sarah Lancashire (left) is lovely as Julia Child (right).

Originally shot in black and white and live to tape (pre-recorded but without stopping for minor errors, mostly live), the series is a glorious pastiche of vintage cooking, with vintage studio kitchen decor and the child’s signature sign-off, “It’s Julia Child, bon appetit!”

Australian audiences approach her story through a slightly different lens, either seeing her on YouTube or through the 2009 film Julia and Juliain which Meryl Streep played Child.

This HBO series is essentially a biopic, an eight-part account of Child’s life, beginning with her life in Europe, the wife of American diplomat Paul Child. “Paul worked like a dog spreading American goodwill across Europe, while I was eating,” she jokes. It then follows the couple’s return to the United States in the 1960s and the emergence of Julia as a major cultural identity.

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child.

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child.Credit:HBO

Each episode clings to a single French dish, starting with the humble omelet. One of Child’s signature dishes (coq au vin) is honored in the second episode. Others range from beef bourguignon to chocolate soufflé.

Sarah Lancashire is lovely as Julia Child, managing to evoke the madness and majesty of the real woman, without really imitating her. Indeed, the Lancashire character’s voice lands a bit lower than Child’s actual voice, which might be harder to handle for eight hours.