Attend the new “cooking retreat with excursions in yoga," which opens in May.   

F&W Editors
February 04, 2016

For years, Julia Child acolytes were able to take cooking lessons at the legendary chef's house in France—a little place in Provence that she called "La Pitchoune," or "La Peetch." Soon, they'll be able to do yoga there, too. 

According to Boston Magazine, the house was recently purchased by Makenna Johnston, a self-employed business strategist and life coach who plans to reopen the home—which was used as a cooking school from 1993-2015—as a “cooking retreat with excursions in yoga." The magazine notes that while the cooking school portion of the house won't open until 2017, it will open as a retreat and vacation spot in May of 2016. 

 It “will be a home base for a center on culinary exploration, peace, and community,” Johnston said.

Child and her husband Paul bought the house in the 1960s, and Child used it regularly until the early 1990s. (She died in 2004.) In 1993, Kathie Alex, one of Child's former associates and proteges, opened a small cooking school in the house. Now in her 70s, Alex operated the school until 2015, at which point she put it on the market. 

During her tenure, Alex left much of Child's house intact; moreover, she taught students techniques she herself had learned from Child and Simca Beck, Child's longtime collaborator. 

“I was teaching a lot of Julia and Simca’s tricks,” Alex told the New York Times in 2015. 

Johnston and her wife Yvonne Johnston, who will be the head chef, don't have Alex's culinary pedigree (Johnston is attending culinary school now), but they hope to model the retreat after the spirit of Child's legacy. 

“The focus is on cooking French food, for sure, and really, on the Julia Child way of cooking: The no-holds barred, ‘Look at that omelet!’ style of cooking,” Johnston told Boston Magazine. “Our goal is to really take out some of the anxiety that comes with big messes, especially for new-ish cooks.”

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