The endearing movie "Julie & Julia" has sparked interest in the amazing culinary prowess of Julia Child, the doyenne of French classical cooking, since its release this summer.
And the movie starring Meryl Streep as Child has obviously captured the hearts of many foodies and chefs as well.
So it's no surprise that someone would come up with the idea to take her cookbook, "Mastering The Art of French Cooking," and teach a series of classes to show students how it is done.
The project fell into the willing hands of Chef David Robertson, 35, to offer such classes at his newly minted The Dirty Apron Cooking School, located in the trendy Yaletown district of Vancouver.
So it was this past Sunday, 22 eager culinary students donned aprons and went about cleaning 22 live lobsters, readying them for a plunge into pots of hot water.
This is the first step to Child's recipe for Lobster Thermidor, a dish composed of lobster tails which have their cooked meat removed, chopped and combined with a bechamel sauce of white wine, shallots, tarragon and mustard.
The sauced lobster is spooned back into the shells, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and broiled to a golden brown.
"Some of Child's recipes in the book are quite interesting," says Robertson. "The lobster, in her recipe, (it) says to cook it for 20 minutes."
"I could never cook a lobster for 20 minutes and if I did that as an apprentice my chef teacher would kill me."
The class moved on to prepare Child's signature dish Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stew in red wine with bacon, onions and mushrooms). That was the dish that Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) turned into an overcooked disaster.
"In this class the students do all their chopping, preparation and the cooking," say Robertson. "They don't work in groups as some cooking classes do but what they do is cook for themselves."
For the finale, Robertson shows them how to make a chocolate souffle, a fitting ending to such a magnificent meal.
Robertson says he and his assistant chefs show the students how to plate a great dish.
"Then we take them to the school's dining room for a wonderful dinner they were proud to complete."
Most of the students attending the class had seen the movie "Julie & Julia," Robertson says.
"One said `I can`t cook, but after seeing the movie it made me want to try.' "
He says that he believes that Julia Child has left an important legacy to North America. It was something that was needed.
"She was passionate," he says. "She lived it, it wasn't a job, it was her life."