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A Child Leads Them to French Cuisine

A Child Leads Them to French Cuisine

Theresa Howard | USA Today

Voila! Marketers are tapping into the buzz of interest in classic French cuisine, thanks to the popularity of the movie Julie & Julia.

The movie, written and directed by Nora Ephron, combines the memoirs of famed chef Julia Child and young fan Julie Powell.

Since opening at No. 2 at the box office last weekend behind G.I. Joe, the movie has spurred sales of Powell’s book on a year of cooking all the recipes in Child’s landmark Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and even higher sales of the 48-year-old cookbook.

But the movie also has been a boost for restaurants and for the Public Broadcasting Service.

Child, who died in 2004 at age 91, was the star of The French Chef, which aired on PBS for more than 10 years, and other shows.

PBS has up to 1,000 hours of Child video on its website, and its top 10 video streams are all Child.

PBS has a paid search ad campaign on Google that wraps up Friday and has made it the most popular search. Unique visitors to the PBS website are up 588%. And local public TV stations are airing a PBS Julia Child special as part of their pledge drives during August.

“It’s been a big emphasis for us,” says Kevin Dando, PBS spokesman. “She is a marquee name, and we have the largest collection of content where people can watch it online. … People have such an affection for her and the show. It’s part of their childhood and growing up.”