Julia Child superfan from NJ will compete on Food Network series
Her passion is cooking, and she's a superfan of food icon Julia Child.
That's why Hoboken resident Christine Fiorentino was considered to be a perfect fit for "The Julia Child Challenge," an upcoming competition TV series that pits eight skilled home cooks against one another, all with their eyes on the grand prize: a three-month cooking course in Paris.
"I've been cooking since I was 3 years old," Fiorentino told New Jersey 101.5. "And Julia Child was actually on in the kitchen, on this little TV that we had, because she was just always on in our house."
That's why her mother was her first call when Fiorentino learned she had been chosen for the program, after several in-depth interviews.
"It was just this beautiful full-circle moment for us," she said.
Fiorentino, now 34 years old, left her professional life as a teacher at age 31, and pivoted to a job in food media, her real passion. Alongside work, she runs a blog targeting folks who share her love for the kitchen, as well as an Instagram account that highlights her recipes and family life.
"The Julia Child Challenge" runs for six weeks, beginning Mar. 14 at 9 p.m. on Food Network and discovery+. Fiorentino and her competitors will cook in a kitchen that's been crafted to look like the kitchen where Julia cooked. They'll use the same ingredients she used, and even "be guided by Julia herself," who passed away in 2004.
"I felt like she was there," Fiorentino said of her experience. "It was really magical."
Fiorentino can't reveal whether she's the last cook standing, but she said she's proud of the dishes she created on the program, and she's excited to share them with a national audience.
The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip for a cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu, where Julia was once a student.