The Barefoot Contessa appears on the the first episode of Dishing on Julia, a companion podcast to the new HBO drama series about Child's life and career.
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Ina Garten; Julia Child
Credit: Nathan Congleton / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Bachrach / Getty Images

On Thursday, March 31, HBO Max will premiere Julia, its new original program about iconic TV chef and cookbook author Julia Child. In addition to the series, which features Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire as Child, the network is also releasing a companion podcast called Dishing on Julia

The podcast, which also debuts on March 31, is hosted by Radio Cherry Bombe's Kerry Diamond, and the supplemental show not only promises to deliver interviews with members of the Julia cast and crew, but with chefs, cookbook authors, and other food industry insiders as well, including Dorie Greenspan, Julia's nephew Alex Prud'homme, Claire Saffitz, and Chef Nancy Silverton. 

"Julia Child is having such a moment and I'm excited to explore why she remains a cultural and culinary force to this day," Diamond said. "It's amazing how timeless Julia's story is and what a trailblazer she was for women, for those in the food world, and for anyone trying to figure out their second act. I look forward to some wonderful conversations with the creators of the show, food industry guests, and Julia Child experts." 

The first episode features an interview with the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten, who describes Child as "one of her heroes." During her engaging conversation with Diamond, Garten covers what she learned from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, why she continues to admire Child and what she sees as one of the secrets to Child's success.

"In my wildest dream, I wouldn't have imagined that you'd be talking to me about Julia Child," Garten said with a laugh. "No. Never. But then everything that's happened in my life, I never would've imagined. In a funny way, when people say, 'What are your goals?' I'm like, 'I don't have any because what's happened to me is so much more outrageous and wonderful than I could have ever dreamed.'"

"I'm sure nobody thought anybody would want to watch somebody making an omelet on TV. And yet she believed in it. She really believed in it and she just kept going," Garten said of Child's groundbreaking TV appearances. "I very often say that people who are successful aren't successful because they were more talented or because they had great luck. It's because when they meet a barrier, they just push right through it, and they keep going and going and going. Julia's a remarkable example of that."

Garten also shared that she had always wanted to learn how to cook, but her mother told her that "[her] job is to study," so she didn't make her first forays into the kitchen until after she got married. Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, took a trip to Europe out of near-necessity — she said camping in France was cheaper than trying to find an apartment — and it's not an exaggeration to say that it changed her life. 

"We got two tickets to Europe and brought a tent and all kinds of camping gear and a tiny camping gas stove because we literally had $5 a day. We couldn't afford to go to a restaurant," she said. " I had to go to the markets and buy food and cook in the tent. And that's where I learned about French markets. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. Like peaches taste like peach jam. And cheese, I'd never had cheese that hadn't been ultra pasteurized. And French baguettes. That was an era, in 1971 — it was like Wonder Bread. You couldn't even get a freshly baked loaf of bread."

After spending four months in France, Garten said that she became "enamored" with French food and, when the young couple returned to the United States, she bought both volumes of Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. "That really was the beginning of my culinary education, my self-education," she said. 

She seems to have, you know, gotten a pretty good return on that investment.

Garten's episode of Dishing on Julia will be available on March 31, and new episodes of both Julia and Dishing on Julia will be released every Thursday. Find the podcast on your favorite platform at listen.hbomax.com/dishing-on-julia.