Celebrate Julia Child’s Birthday with Iconic Menu at River Oaks



In 1992, Chef Jose Gutierrez cooked a five-course dinner for Julia Child at the Peabody’s Chez Philippe. The photo above was taken that night with Gutierrez, who is standing on Child’s left, and the rest of his team.

Chef Jose Gutierrez has cooked for many prestigious guests, but one of his most memorable is Julia Child, the renowned American gourmand and best-selling author of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Gutierrez first cooked for Child in 1992 at The Peabody’s Chez Philippe and again in Los Angeles two years later for her 82nd birthday. He remembers that Child adored the food and the wine pairings, but she also loved her martinis, a cocktail she ordered throughout the meal.

“I said to Julia, ‘I thought you told me everything in moderation,’” Gutierrez recalled last week. “She said, ‘Yes, but I'm 6’5” and you are 5’6”, so the math is different for everyone!’”

To celebrate Child’s birthday on August 15, Gutierrez is cooking a tribute dinner at his restaurant River Oaks featuring three of her iconic dishes: Salade Lyonnaise, a salad of smoked bacon and poached egg on greens; Boeuf Bourguignon with Gratin Jurassien, a side more commonly called scalloped potatoes; and Reine de Saba cake, a rich and almost-flourless cake made with chocolate and almonds. The dinner costs $35 plus tax and gratuity.

Guests can also order from the restaurant’s regular menu during Friday night’s birthday dinner.

If the menu for the tribute dinner seems heavenly but filling, remember that if Child was at the table, she would just be getting started. When Gutierrez cooked for her at Chez Philippe in 1992, he served a five-course meal with wine pairings, a menu he shares below.

Menu for “Julia and Jose” Dinner (1992)

  • Warm and cold salad with warm basil dressing (Champalou Vouvray 1990)

  • Brandade of smoked trout with grilled polenta (Hess Select Chardonnay 1990)

  • Croquette of eggplant with fresh artichokes (Les Vieux Cepages Grenache 1989 McDowell Vineyards)

  • Heart of beef tenderloin sauce Perigueux (Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel 1989)

  • Chocolate napoleon with raspberries and crème fraiche (Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve)

  •  

River Oaks, 5871 Poplar Ave. (901-683-9305)

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Memphis Stew

Growing, Cooking, and Eating Mid-South Food

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Memphis Stew is a food blog that celebrates our city’s community table and the people who grow, cook, and eat Memphis food. It is edited by Pamela Denney, food editor of Memphis magazine, who sees food as a delicious way to build families, friendships, and a more healthy and sustainable future.

To contact Pamela, email her at pam@memphismagazine.com.

To contact Hannah Bailey, email her at bailey@memphismagazine.com.

 

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