National Museum of American History Unveils First Smithsonian Food History Weekend Including Gala Participants

Chefs Daniel Boulud, Alton Brown, Marcus Samuelsson, Sara Moulton and Derek Brown Participate in Red-Carpet Gala Event As Inaugural Julia Child Award Presented to Jacques Pépin by Julia Child Foundation
August 13, 2015
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Courtesy Jaques Pepin

At a reception today to commemorate Julia Child’s birthday Aug. 15, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home to Child’s kitchen, announced the program of the first Smithsonian Food History Weekend and companion gala fundraising dinner. The events, Oct. 22–24, are themed “Innovation on Your Plate” and will examine the rich history of the innovation in the production, preparation and consumption of food in America.

The red-carpet gala dinner will feature Alton Brown, multi-James Beard Award-winning star of the Food Network’s Good Eats and author of multiple cookbooks, who will serve as emcee for the gala; James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author, Marcus Samuelsson, who will speak about Child’s influence and inspiration; and cookbook author, TV personality and Child protégée, Sara Moulton, who will speak about Child’s influence as innovator and teacher. The evening’s three-course menu will be created by French Chef Daniel Boulud, chef-owner of many award-winning restaurants, including Michelin-starred DANIEL in New York City, who will pay tribute to Child and Pépin’s spirits of innovation. Derek Brown, a cocktail and spirits writer, spirits judge and owner of Washington, D.C.’s Mockingbird Hill bar, will prepare special cocktails in honor of Child and Pépin.

“Julia Child’s legacy inspires all of us to see food as a great connector of peoples and our shared cultures,” said John Gray, director of the museum. “Food is an ideal lens to explore diverse aspects of American history, including innovation, creativity and invention and serves as an entry point to our past, present and future for our millions of visitors.”

The gala serves as a fundraiser for the programs and exhibitions of the museum’s American Food History Project. Individual tickets and table sponsorships for the gala can be purchased online at

The evening will culminate with the presentation of the inaugural Julia Child Award by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts to Child’s longtime friend and international master chef Pépin. The foundation announced the selection of the award recipient today in association with the National Museum of American History. Boulud will present the award to Pépin during the Oct. 22 ceremony.

The Smithsonian Food History Weekend, a cornerstone of the museum’s American Food History Project, will gather culinary leaders, researchers, practitioners and scholars every fall to inspire visitors with culinary demonstrations, hands-on learning opportunities, tastings, roundtable discussions and more. Scheduled this year to run Oct. 22–24, the program will include distinct events spread throughout the course of the weekend to present opportunities to participate, explore and eat. More information is available at

The Food History Roundtables, Friday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., are free and open to the public and will bring leading researchers, practitioners and thinkers together to address big issues around food and innovation in America. Topics include “Innovation and Food: Beyond What’s New,” “Growing Innovations,” “Innovation and the Business of Food” and “Innovation on the Plate.” More information is available at

The Food History Festival, Saturday, Oct. 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., will present a full day of free activities for visitors of all ages that will spark conversations about the past, present and future of food innovations in America. Activities will include live cooking demonstrations, modern and historic agriculture vehicles on display, film screenings, curator-led exhibition tours, hands-on learning activities, rarely exhibited objects on display and tours of the Victory Garden. More information is available at

Brewing up Innovation: After Hours at the Food History Weekend, Saturday, Oct. 24, 6:30 p.m., is a ticketed event that is part of the popular American History After Hours series. Guests explore how brewing in the U.S. has evolved over time. Purchase tickets at

The National Museum of American History is located on Constitution Avenue, between 12th and 14th streets N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit  

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