If the sneak peek of HBO’s new fictionalized series about Julia Child left you hungry for more Julia-centric content, here’s some good news: Food Network will debut the Julia Child Challenge on March 14. In the new reality competition series, eight home cooks (and Julia Child aficionados) will cook their way through some of Child’s most iconic recipes as they attempt to win an all-expense paid three-month cooking course at Le Cordon Bleu.
Each episode will consist of two rounds: one dedicated to recreating some of Julia Child’s recipes—featuring instruction from Child herself, who will appear in archival footage on a large screen—and one for recipes inspired by Child. According to a media release, the first episode will start with the contestants trying to make sole meunière—one of the first French meals Child ever had. (You can try your hand at it in your own kitchen with Child’s recipe, as published in Martha Stewart Living.) In the second challenge, the contestants will recreate a meal that changed their lives.
For an intimate touch, the round two dishes will be served family-style, so judges and contestants can sample the recipes and chat about their inspiration. (Sounds exactly like the kind of fun, low-pressure cooking show that Child hosted for years.) At the end of round two, the judges will name one weekly winner and send one contestant home. The last chef standing will literally follow in Child’s footsteps when they head off to Le Cordon Bleu for three months.
Antonia Lofaso of Chopped and Top Chef will serve as the show’s head judge. Guest judges will include friends of Child, like Dorie Greenspan and Jacques Pépin, plus Food Network regulars like Melissa King, Michael Voltaggio and Stephanie Boswell. Food Network has already released the names of the competitors, who hail from California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
The Challenge is just one of many new Julia Child-themed projects to arrive in the last year. HBO’s Julia will premiere March 31, while the documentary Julia is now available to stream after its theatrical release in 2021.
We’re already dreaming up challenges that we hope to see the contestants face—like making Child’s signature boeuf bourguignon or a batch of pain de mie. No matter what challenges come up, one thing’s for sure: we’ll be tuning in every week. You can watch the show on March 14 at 9 p.m. ET, or catch it on the same day on Discovery+.