A select few food and film bloggers were treated to a private screening of the highly anticipated film Julie & Julia, a movie based on the real life stories of Julie Powell (Amy Adams) and world-renowned cook Julia Child (Meryl Streep).
In 2002, Powell embarked on a yearlong cooking and blogging journey. Her mission: cook all 524 recipes found in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and document her experience in her "Julie/Julia Project" blog. Fast-forward to the present and her blog has not only attracted a huge audience, but she's become a best selling author with her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously, now turned into a major motion picture.
I had the pleasure of meeting Powell after the private screening at the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Hollywood. She performed a cooking demonstration with former Bravo-Top Chef contestant Chef Brian Malarkey, chatted about her blogging experience, movie, and upcoming projects.
As she helped Chef Malarkey prepare Julia Child's favorite dish, beef bourguignon, she expressed her admiration for Amy Adams and director Nora Efron.
"Amy Adams was completely cute…Nora Efron, is a scary woman, terrifying, but she knows how to make a movie," said Powell.
Powell also took the time to clarify her thoughts on blogging.
"I don't see myself as a food blogger, [at least not] in the way that some of you are here today," said Powell. "I love bloggers. There is a free sense of expression; you can write exactly what you feel."
As Chef Malarkey took over the beef bourguignon dish, culinary consultant Susan Spungen also took centerstage. Spungen is a well-known cook, food stylist, editor and author. She's worked as food editor for Martha Steward Living magazine and has appeared regularly on Martha Stewart Living TV, Today,Good Morning America, and Fox & Friends. She talked about meeting Julia Child and actually eating a meal prepared by Julia. Spungen and her team prepared all the dishes for the movie and said they tried to stay true to all the recipes as they appeared in Julia Child's cook book. She demonstrated how to melt cheese over onion soup--rumored to have been the last meal Julia ate before her death.
Right as the evening appeared to come to an end, handsome Chris Messina graced us with his presence. Cool, calm, and collected, he took a seat and talked about Julia Child, Adams, and his movie role as Eric Powell, Julie's husband.
"I didn't realize how inspiring she was," confessed Messina about Julia. "She was a gigantic role model for men and women. I got into her."
Messina joked about developing an eating disorder from all the food consumption made during the movie, but he was all smiles when talking about Adams.
"It was easy to act with Amy and fall in love with her. She's amazing, a great actress, and we had a lot of fun together," said Messina.
Messina is currently starring alongside John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph in Sam Mendes' Away We Go. His upcoming performances include Monogamy opposite Rashida Jones, Greenberg with Ben Stiller, and An Invisible Sign alongside Jessica Alba.
Within a matter of minutes, the Q&A's were over and a decadent smell of spices filled the room. Beef bourguignon trays were passed around and mini chocolate mousse cakes were scarfed down. After seeing the movie and hearing Powell, Spungen and Messina express their admiration for Julia, it made me appreciate the legendary cook ten times more.
I grew up watching Julia, too, so taking on this assignment was a pleasure. The best part of it all is being able to share the experience with readers. So here's one more thing for you food and movie fans: 10 lucky readers will have the opportunity to attend a private screening of Julie & Julia. If you live in Los Angeles and are free on Tuesday, August 4 at 7 p.m., post a quick comment to this here blog post by end of day Friday, July 31, as to why you wish to attend the screening. If you're one of the winners, we'll contact you with theatre and registration information. Good luck!
Stay tuned, too, for an exclusive interview with Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
And here's a quick download link to a quick video with highlights of the event. Enjoy!