Introducing the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience

Julia Child’s Birthday Celebration Kicks Off March 2020 Food and Drink Weekend

August 15 will forever be known as Julia Child Day in Santa Barbara. Her birthday is being honored with a civic proclamation this week at an event that also announces the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience, a food and drink celebration scheduled for March. | Credit: Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

August 15 would have been Julia Child’s 107th birthday, and the City of Santa Barbara’s Mayor Cathy Murillo proclaimed this date as the annual “Julia Child Day” during an event at the Montecito Country Club on Thursday night.

That private celebration also marks the official unveiling of the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience, a weekend-long food and drink extravaganza of education, tasting, and toasting being planned for March 2020. Affiliated with The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the S.B. Culinary Experience hopes to become one of the most anticipated events of the year for food and drink lovers from near and far.

The new organization’s executive director, Amanda Moose, a former White House official under President Barack Obama, shared some insight about the experience.

What is the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience?  The Santa Barbara Culinary Experience is a series of events set for March 13-15, 2020, that will gather the community and visitors to enjoy the dynamic variety of what is grown in and around Santa Barbara and spotlight the community’s culinary, hospitality, and artisan community. The weekend’s activities will include cooking classes, panels, and a broad range of food and drink events that will appeal to a variety of audiences, including low- or no-cost events for children and their families.

Why is now the time for Santa Barbara to host such an event?  Santa Barbara is in the middle of an exciting time for food and wine right now, and this event will spotlight Santa Barbara’s dynamic food and wine scene and introduce visitors and our community to its unusual variety of flourishing local food and wine businesses.

How does this tie into Julia Child and her foundation?  Julia Child loved Santa Barbara. She spent summers in Santa Barbara as a child and was a loving resident for the last several years of her life. She was an active member of the community with strong ties that remain to this day, even at places like Rose Story Farm, where she chose a rose that is named after her.

The Santa Barbara Culinary Experience is inspired by a mix of fun and learning about food and drink for which Julia Child advocated so passionately, and is closely tied to the mission of The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, with a focus on understanding where food comes from, what makes for good food, and the value of cooking. We are creating the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience to be the kind of event Julia would love to attend with its mixture of learning, fun, and lots of great food and beverages.

Why is the city marking her birthday as a special day?  The proclamation of August 15 as Julia Child Day in Santa Barbara pays tribute to Julia’s admiration for the Santa Barbara community, but it also speaks to her lifelong efforts as an educator, given she viewed herself as a teacher above all else. Julia Child felt learning was paramount, right along with embracing the joys of cooking, eating, and drinking well.

How can people from the hospitality community get involved?  Go to and sign up for updates, or send us an email at to make suggestions and offer to get more involved! Follow us on Instagram at @sbculinaryexperience, on Twitter at @sbculinaryexp, and on Facebook at SB Culinary Experience.

When will tickets go on sale?  November 15, 2019.

This article’s author, Matt Kettmann, is on the SBCE advisory board.


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