This is Chef Vincent Grumel’s story of his personal encounter with Julia Child:
Hear Vincent tell it:
In 1976, following an inspirational visit to Paris, entrepreneurs June Berridge and Wanda James opened Mon Ami, North San Diego County’s first authentic French restaurant. The story goes that, while in Paris, Berridge and James experienced a wonderful cafe called Le Tayerne Du Sargent Recruteur on the Iles St. Denis, an island in the middle of the river Seine. Upon returning to the United States, Berridge and James decided to make their dream come true in the form of Mon Ami, located on the corner of Highway 101 and Villa de la Valle in Solana Beach.
On February 3rd, 1979, a culinary celebrity, Julia Child, paid Mon Ami a surprise visit. Vincent Grumel, Mon Ami’s Head Chef, had not been expecting Julia Child, nor had he seen her cooking show on television, heard her famous voice, nor thumbed through her famous cook book. Not yet aware of Julia’s reputation, Chef Vincent had no idea what to expect when Julia, after being extremely pleased with her meal, paid him a visit in the kitchen, speaking to him in her fluent French. Chef Vincent remembers that night as a very special one due to the first impression left by Julia Child as well as the extraordinary circumstances in which he met and cooked for her.