Smithsonian Food History Weekend
October 13 - 15, 2022
Save the date for the 2022 Food History Weekend and eigth annual Gala featuring the presentation of the Julia Child Award to recipient Grace Young! Registration and additional details to follow.
2022 Julia Child Award Recipient: Grace Young
The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts has announced Grace Young, award-winning cookbook author, culinary historian, filmmaker and activist, as the recipient of the eighth annual Julia Child Award. The Award is accompanied by a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to further Young’s advocacy for the value of Chinese-American culture and cuisine.
Young has devoted her career to preserving Chinese home cooking and wok traditions and sharing her knowledge with home cooks in the U.S. Throughout her career, Grace has received six IACP awards and two (soon to be three) James Beard Awards for her cookbooks, video projects, lifetime achievements and humanitarian efforts.
Growing up in California, Young’s love of cooking started at an early age when she would watch Julia Child on The French Chef and recreate her recipes for her family. It was Julia that inspired Young to pursue a career in food and explore her Chinese culinary heritage. Young devoted her career to creating accessible Chinese recipes for home cooks in the U.S., just as Julia did with French cuisine.
After years as the test kitchen director and director of food photography for Time Life Books, Young had a yearning to reconnect with the flavors of her childhood. She would spend the next few years traveling from New York to San Francisco to learn to cook her family’s traditional dishes. This cherished collection of recipes would become her first award-winning book, The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing.
As her exploration of Chinese cooking continued, Young spent many years preserving the tradition of cooking with a carbon-steel wok and sharing its value and importance with American home cooks. Now dubbed the “Wok Therapist,” Young co-authored the book, The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore; created her renowned videos Wok Therapist and The Breath of a Wok; and runs a popular Facebook group titled “Wok Wednesdays.”
In 2006, Young began working on Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge, a cookbook that empowers home cooks to stir-fry with confidence by illustrating the technique’s origins, uses and health benefits. Her work to preserve Chinese culinary traditions in America has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and television shows throughout her career.
As the pandemic unfolded,Young dedicated her time to preserving Chinatowns and AAPI mom and pop businesses across the country, reminding the public of how important Chinese and AAPI food is to the American culinary landscape. As a recipient of the 8th annual Julia Child Award, Grace will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation to be given to food-related non-profit organizations. Grace plans to use the grant to continue her support of Chinatown legacy restaurants and feed those in need within the community.
The Foundation established the Julia Child Award in 2015 to foster Julia’s legacy, while also honoring an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $2.7 million to culinary-focused non-profit organizations across the country. Previous Award recipients include Toni Tipton-Martin, Danielle Nierenberg, José Andrés, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, Danny Meyer, Rick Bayless and Jacques Pépin.
What is the Food History Project?
The Smithsonian Food History project at the National Museum of American History welcomes everyone to join in exploring history through the lens of food. The museum’s food history team conducts research, collects objects and documents, creates exhibitions, and develops dynamic public programs that illuminate the fundamental role of food in shaping many aspects of American history and cultural life.
Our food programs are based on the museum’s research and collecting initiatives and include on-line offerings as well as on-site programs and demonstrations. These events bring visitors together for relevant discussions that start with history and expand to the present and future of food in the United States. Special activities include free daytime programs, including live cooking demonstrations, and the annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend. The National Museum of American History is committed to examining the historical roots of contemporary issues concerning food and drink in the United States. To stay in the loop, sign up to receive updates from the food history team here.
What is Food History Weekend?
Every year, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History brings together food innovators, activists, educators, entrepreneurs, chefs, and scholars for conversations, cooking demonstrations, and hands-on activities with museum visitors to inspire a broader understanding of the history of food in the United States and the role we all play in shaping the future of food.
Made By US and Food Justice
Made by US is a new national movement spearheaded by leading U.S.history organizations who have come together to offer transformational, civic-focused programming leading up to the Nation’s 250th Anniversary in 2026. The National Museum of American History is one of the leading organizations behind the Made by US initiative. This video discusses the past, present, and future of food justice and food access in the United States. Speakers include NMAH historian Dr. Ashley Rose Young, Celia Cody-Carrese from Food Foward, and Caroline Klibanoff from Made by US.