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Nov. 5, 2009

Smith College to Serve Up a Cook-Off Nov. 12

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. – Team France will face off against Team Italy in a culinary showdown that will be the highlight of Julia Child Day at Smith College on Nov. 12.

This year’s “Culinary Smackdown” will begin at 4:15 p.m. in the Campus Center Carroll Room, and promises to serve up fiery personalities as well as hot food.

Julia Child Day 07“France has ruled the dining table, for elegance, subtlety, variety, and taste – in every sense – since courtiers elbowed each other out of the way to sit above the salt in the court of Louis XIV,” said Ann Leone, professor of French studies, and leader of Team France. “As the Sun King himself said, ‘Après moi le déluge,’ which, as we all know, translates as: ‘The Italians ought to stick to tomato sauce’.” 

Team Italy leader Alfonso Procaccini does not share Leone’s opinion.

“Italy has been called the mother of the Western cuisines, and perhaps its greatest contribution was its influence on France,” said Procaccini. “While many believe that the French have ruled the dining table with elegance, variety and subtlety, ironically they have forgotten that this was largely due to the arrival in France of Catherine de Medici in the 16th century, who introduced not only the use of the eating fork, but also a new sense of elegance and refinement to the French table.”

Also representing Team Italy will be Anna Botta and Bruno Grazioli of the Italian language and literature department and chef Sal Presto of dining services. Joining Leone on Team France will be Christiane Metral, lecturer of French studies; Peter Bloom, Ross Professor of Humanities and Music; and chef Fran Vilbon of dining services.

Those who attend the cook-off will have a chance at being selected as a judge. Just who will be charged with the difficult task of deciding the winning dishes will be determined on site.

However, even those who don’t sample the cook-off cuisine will be able to partake in some of Child’s recipes along with a sampling of Italian cuisine at a gala reception in the Campus Center following the event.

The Office of the Dean of the College is sponsoring the event and Smith chef Rick Rubin will be the master of ceremonies.

Julia ChildThe annual occasion celebrates the passion of late alumna Julia Child ’34, author of a dozen cookbooks and host of the long-running PBS television series “The French Chef,” who is credited with changing the way we think about food in America.

Child donated her house in Cambridge, Mass., to Smith, which she had lived in from 1956 to 2001. In 2002, proceeds from the sale of the property supported construction of the Campus Center.

Child died on August 12, 2004. An etching on a window of the Campus Center Café honors her generosity to Smith. This is the sixth annual day of celebration in her memory.

Smith College educates women of promise for lives of distinction. One of the largest women’s colleges in the United States, Smith enrolls 2,800 students from nearly every state and 62 other countries.


Office of College Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Kristen Cole
Media Relations Director
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

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