Smithsonian Food History Gala

2019 Food History Gala

October 13, 2022

Join us for the 2022 eighth annual Smithsonian Food History Gala featuring the presentation of the Julia Child Award to recipient Grace Young! Grace Young is a tireless advocate for the preservation of American Chinatowns and all their cultural, economic, and gastronomic riches. We are excited to announce that the Gala will be held in the museum once again, after two years of virtual presentations. The Weekend and Gala have been named "The Best Festival for Food Lovers" by Washing City Paper, and the Gala is one of Washington, DC's premier culinary events.

To celebrate Young’s accomplishments and influence, the gala will feature food writer, editor, and media host Francis Lam; folklore scholar and author Dr. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett; television host, author, and teacher Sara Moulton; and filmmaker and Poster House museum director Julia Knight, who will present the award. The menu will be created by Chef Peter Chang, master of Chinese cuisine and one of the DC area’s most admired chefs. Dr. Anthea Hartig, Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the National Museum of American History, and Eric Spivey, Chair of The Julia Child Foundation, will also be featured speakers. 

Doors will open for the Gala at 6:30 pm on Thursday, October 13 at the National Museum of American History located on Constitution Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets, NW, Washington, DC. Valet parking will be available for guests.  

Read more about the 2022 Julia Child Award recipient, Grace Young, below!


Grace Young
Photograph by Dan Ahn

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.



Julia Child Award


We hope that you will help support food history programming at the National Museum of American History. By becoming a donor, you will be supporting the important new initiatives of the Smithsonian Food History Project, which will help us to continue our paid internship program which provides mentoring and professional learning experiences to candidates from communities that are underrepresented in the museum and food history fields. Internships are an important way to build inclusive museums in the future. 

  • "The Food History Curatorial internship gave me the opportunity to learn about the many facets of museum work, build relationships with fellow interns and staff, collect oral histories, and contribute to museum programming, such as Cooking Up History and Food History Weekend. What I learned from during my time at NMAH continues to support my passion for telling stories through food!" -Marsha Ungchusri (2019 Intern)


The Julia Child Award

The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts was created by Julia Child in 1995 and became operational in 2004. Its mission is to honor and further Julia’s legacy, which centers on the importance of understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, California, the Foundation is a non-profit which makes grants to support research in culinary history, scholarships for professional culinary training, food writing and media as well as professional development and food literacy programs. Since becoming operational, the Foundation has made more than $2.7 million in grants to other nonprofits.

For more information on the Julia Child Award, please visit the website of the Julia Child Foundation.