The Julia Child Award

Created by The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts in 2015, the Julia Child Award is given to an individual (or team) who has made a profound and significant difference in the way America cooks, eats and drinks.

The Foundation presents the annual award in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a gala event held in Washington, D.C. in the fall. The gala is a celebration of the recipient’s accomplishments and helps raise money to support food history programming at the Museum. It features prominent speakers from throughout the national food world, and kicks off the Museum’s annual Smithsonian Food History Weekend.

Each year at the gala, the recipient receives a uniquely designed award engraved with his/her name and year of honor. In addition, the Foundation makes a $50,000 grant to the food-related non-profit of the recipient’s choosing.
Award recipients are nominated and selected by an independent jury, who select candidates from a private shortlist, managed by the Award Director. Candidates embody shared characteristics with Julia Child, including being a renowned Educator, Communicator, Innovator, Mentor and Bridge-Builder, and demonstrating Integrity, Public-Spiritedness and Independence.

The purpose of the Award is three-fold, to:

  • Publicly recognize those following closely in Julia’s footsteps
  • Shine a spotlight on their accomplishments and actions.
  • Help increase the impact of the non-profit, food-related causes that matter to the recipients.

Visit the Julia Child Award website to learn more about the award criteria, the jury, past recipients and past award-related grant recipients.


2023: Sean Sherman

Founder and Executive Director, NĀTIFS

A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Chef Sean Sherman focuses on the revitalization and evolution of Indigenous foods systems throughout North America. Through his activism and advocacy, Sean is helping to reclaim and celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Indigenous communities around the world. Read more →

2022: Grace Young

Award-winning cookbook author

Named the “poet laureate of the wok” by food historian Betty Fussell, Grace Young has devoted her career to demystifying the ancient cooking utensil for use in contemporary kitchens. Read more →

2021: Toni Tipton-Martin

Award-winning food journalist, historian, author and PBS host

Toni Tipton-Martin is an award-winning author and food journalist and one of the most influential voices in exploring and celebrating the stories of African American cooks and how their recipes have shaped American cooking. Read more →

2020: Danielle Nierenberg

President and Co-Founder, Food Tank

In 2013, Danielle Nierenberg co-founded Food Tank with Bernard Pollack, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on building a global community for safe, healthy, nourished eaters. Food Tank is a global convener, research organization, and non-biased creator of original research impacting the food system. Read more →

2019: José Andrés

Restaurateur and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup

Named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in both 2012 and 2018, and awarded “Outstanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, New York Times best-selling author, educator, television personality, humanitarian, and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. Read more →

2018: Susan Feniger

Co-Chef and Owner – Border Grill

Iconic culinarian, author, and entrepreneur Susan Feniger may be best known for her Modern Mexican concept, Border Grill restaurants, trucks, and catering, which she runs with her business partner of more than 35 years, Mary Sue Milliken. Read more →

2018: Mary Sue Milliken

Co-Chef and Owner – Border Grill

Throughout a groundbreaking, nearly 40-year career, Mary Sue Milliken finds the key to her success in following her insatiable curiosity. She is best known for Border Grill restaurants, trucks, and catering, which she runs with her business partner of more than 35 years, Susan Feniger. Read more →

2017: Danny Meyer

Restaurateur and the CEO of the Union Square Hospitality Group

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Danny Meyer grew up in a family that relished great food and hospitality. Thanks to his father’s travel business, which designed custom European trips, Danny spent much of his childhood eating, visiting near and far-off places, and sowing the seeds for his future passion. Read more →

2016: Rick Bayless

Chef, Television Host, Cookbook Author, Humanitarian

Many Americans may know Rick Bayless from winning the title of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, beating out the French and Italian with his authentic Mexican cuisine or from his highly rated Public Television Series, Mexico–One Plate at a Time, which wrapped its 11th season. Read more →

2015: Jacques Pépin

Renowned chef, cookbook author and culinary personality

Our esteemed Julia Child Award jury selected renowned chef, cookbook author and culinary personality Jacques Pépin as the first recipient of the annual award. Read more →