As part of our You & Julia series, we recently visited Deuxave, Boston’s modern French restaurant, where Chef and Owner Chris Coombs and Executive Chef Adrienne Wright gave us a behind-the-scenes taste of their take on Julia Child’s French Onion Soup. We talked with the chefs about their passion for cooking and Julia’s legacy as a trailblazer.

On how they developed their passion for cooking:

Adrienne: I really got my love of cooking from my grandfather, who I grew up with in the same house. He would watch Julia Child's cooking show on PBS, and later on that week, we would have french onion soup for dinner, or we would have whatever she was making. Like Julia, he was very interested in the classics and experimenting, which was where it all started for me.

Chris: Cooking's actually all I've ever done. I was very fortunate to start washing dishes in a neighbor's seafood restaurant up on the North Shore of Massachusetts at about the age of 11 or 12 years old. And I just fell in love with the energy, the craziness, the people, and I just love delicious food, so it's all that I've ever done my whole life.

Chefs Chris and Adrienne show off their french onion soup.
Chefs Chris and Adrienne show off their french onion soup.

On Julia Child’s influence:

Chris: My favorite thing about Julia Child was that she was a trailblazer. When you think about the timing and the macro-environment, she really paved the way for chefs like myself today to have the opportunity to sit here and share my story and share my vision for food.

Adrienne: And even as those TV chefs really grew in numbers, Julia Child was the only female for so long on that wide-scale, national level. She really was a trailblazer.

A white bowl of french onion soup with cheese dripping down the side
Meghan Smith

On why Julia still resonates in our food culture:

Chris: The fact that she was able to reach so many different people on so many levels is really what made her special — that she could captivate anyone with her energy, with her passion, and also with her food.

Adrienne: I also think about her advocacy for having fun while you cook. I think that was really missing from the food culture in America at that time — the idea that this doesn't have to be a daily drudgery of "what are we having for dinner?" She came out and said, "You can try new things. You can experiment. You can have fun, be creative, drink while you cook."

She advocated making cooking an experience instead of a chore. And I think that is something that still really resonates in our food culture. Plus, I love this Julia quote: "This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook. Try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun."

Learn more about the life and legacy of Julia Child here.