The French Chef
Picture: C+ Sound: C+/C Extras: C+ Collection: B+
issued DVD sets of Julia Child before, but the twist with this very similarly
titled Julia Child! The French Chef 3-DVD set is that the
first disc is a terrific documentary about her life from the great American Masters series. Like all the amazing installments in this
exceptional documentary show, it begins with her birth, goes to her childhood
and how it shaped her, then to how she became a legend.
must-see show, it is presented here in 1.33 X 1 framing and the Dolby Digital
2.0 audio is stereo and better than the regular shows. Titled “Julia! America’s Favorite Chef” from
2004 (running one hour), it shows what an amazing life she had going from
housewife to food icon. We se her
influence by the end, but she broke open the idea of food to a few simple
things to everything and that “New Food Wave” continues as we speak. It might also be arguable that she rode the
counterculture wave with her unbelievable energy that proves the power of
positive change is not as hard as it might seem. Why, she truly is The Beatles of food.
other discs are from her long-running French
Chef series and include the same format of starters/side dishes, main
courses and desserts. Disc 2 includes
her making Petits Fours, which are cakes (sometimes in layers) dipped in a
flavored glaze (chocolate, vanilla) and even further glazing on the top. The show is one of her early black and white
shows. She had the time, especially with
no commercials, to take her time and make it like any other dish on the
show. A more quiet time for TV (and
media in general), she is on the set alone and the idea at the time now lost to
most audiences is that it was supposed to be like you were visiting her.
being let into her kitchen to see something amazing and like nothing that had
been on TV before. It was above simple
recipes or cooking and certainly not TV dinners. It was from a time that TV was envisioned as
a medium that would revolutionize the world for the better with free education
and prosperity for all before the 1980s ruined everything and cable made TV a
new kind of wasteland. Ironically, it was
that kind of TV that ultimately became the architectural model for the Internet
and people like Child should get some credit for that. The world may seem to want to go faster and
everything is rushed, but good food is never one of them and ultimately, it is
in this spirit in which Child’s triumph will be forever.
X 1 image on the episodes vary throughout, but are as good as they are going to
get. Some are monochrome, others in
color. Like the previous sets, the Dolby
Digital 2.0 Mono reflects the sometimes too-quiet manner of the recordings,
along with some slight compression, but the low volume is from early bad TV
audio standards. Be careful when turning
the volume up and switching from DVD to another audio source.
final note, it is mentioned in the documentary that it would be Politically
Incorrect today to call her “The French Chef” since she was not French. Once again, this is absurd, since it was not
about her being French but the kind of cuisine she was making. PC shows its shallow idiocy again. Fortunately, Child was above all that and we
should follow her example.
- Nicholas Sheffo