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The AZ Insider: Julia Child Help Sells Phoenix Home

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"The AZ Insider" with Kathy Shayna Shocket: Get the inside scoop on Arizona's social scene and celebrity news.

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This week: Julia Child helped sell his home: Who’s the Phoenix VIP?? Cove Trattoria private party and more…

It was just about ten years ago that I had a chance to cook with Julia Child. She was in Phoenix at Christopher Gross’ restaurant to promote one of her cookbooks. Chris was one of the featured culinary experts in two of her Master Chef coffee table books.

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In that charming raspy voice and unpretentious but enthusiastic demeanor, Julia showed me how to make grilled lamb chops, as if it was the first time she was giving the recipe. Not only had Chris cooked in Julia’s kitchen in her Cambridge, Massachusetts home, where they filmed her PBS TV show, but Julia had actually cooked in Christopher’s personal kitchen in his Phoenix home. In fact, “Julia Child helped sell my house,” says Chris of his former home on Piestewa Peak. At first, the couple who eventually bought that home was hesitant of the asking price. “The husband thought the price was too,” Chris recalls. “But the wife whispered to him, ‘but….but… Julia Child cooked in this kitchen.”

Now, with the popularity of the big screen movie “Julie & Julia” – everything Julia is hot. Christopher’s Restaurant and Crush Lounge, as well as Vincent’s on Camelback and Vincent Market Bistro created promotional Julia Child menus in honor of the film. (Vincent Guerithault, cooked for Julia Child in 1982, when he was a chef at Oaxaca in Scottsdale.)

PBS has a dedicated Julia Child section on their national website. And you can see Christopher Gross and Julia Child together cooking on her PBS TV series- in the videos on the website. In the program “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs,” Chris demonstrates some recipes with foreign flair, including Alder-Smoked Loin of Beef and a Middle Eastern side dish called Fareki and Harissa.

There’s also a bio on the national PBS website about Chris. It’s taken from one of Julia’s books, describing him as the chef who offers fine French cuisine to his devoted Phoenix clientele. It also spotlights some of his culinary history “First entering the professional kitchen as a teenager simply to earn money for a new bike, Christopher ended up falling in love with his role behind the stove.”

Cove Trattoria Generous Private Party

In other culinary news.. Cove Trattoria in the Scottsdale Seville mall, closed its doors for a private party on Thursday for supporters of NotMYkid. It’s the non-profit which supports youth making positive choices in life. The Italian restaurant donated all the food for the cocktail party (featuring its wood-fired gourmet specialty pizza) and alcohol for the fundraiser!

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Pictured above at the party are former Diamondbacks player Todd Stottlemyre and wife Erica Stottlemyre, NotMYkid founder Debbie Moak and Cove Trattoria’s co-owner and chef Vinny Monica. Now through Sept. 3 the Cove will donate 25% of its proceeds from a special menu to benefit NotMYkid.

The one-week-only menu will include the choice of an appetizer; a house salad; a choice of entrée ranging from The Cove’s classic Chicken Saltimbocca, Grilled Halibut or Grilled Pork Chop; and a freshly prepared dessert, which will be the chef’s choice. The pre-fixed menu will be available during dinner hours for $40 a person.    

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Kathy Shayna Shocket is a Phoenix based writer. If you have a good item for The AZ Insider, you can email her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .