How ‘The Julia Child Challenge’ Recreated the Food Icon and Her Kitchen

“Top Chef,” “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen” alum chef Antonia Lofaso is the head judge of Food Network and Discovery Plus’ upcoming primetime cooking competition “The Julia Child Challenge.” It’s important to make that title clear up front as, though Lofaso is the vibrant live chef in the room with the contestants, the vibrant Julia Child herself serves as host via a giant screen playing classic black-and-white footage of the food icon hosting “The French Chef” in the center of a kitchen modeled to look just like her own.

And if the show didn’t have that literal larger-than-life component at its core, president of Food Network and streaming food content at Discovery Courtney White tells Variety she wouldn’t have picked up “The Julia Child Challenge.”

More from Variety

“We had been pitched Julia-centric ideas over the years,” White said. “They always felt like they were very technical focused. And

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Grandma Wan’s Thai Mix Kitchen food truck serves up love

Anyone who visits Grandma Wan’s Thai Mix Kitchen is just about guaranteed to be treated to a delicious meal and leave with a smile on their face, and a little extra spring in their step.

Grandma is Wantani Okuhara, a petite woman with a big personality and an even bigger heart, who operates her kitchen with its outdoor garden seating at 1128 30th Ave. W. She also has a food truck that she takes to special events.

“I just love what I do, honey,” she said. Grandma Wan calls all of her customers “honey,” and they seem to love it.

One of her regulars gave her a sign that said “Grandma Wan’s first Friendsgiving,” a popular take on Thanksgiving.

Recently, Grandma Wan’s earned a near-perfect health inspection. She was unaware of the report until a customer brought her a copy of a Bradenton Herald story, which she posted at

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Scaling Biryani like scaling burgers. Inside the house of cloud kitchen brands

Scaling Biryani like scaling burgers. Inside the house of cloud kitchen brands

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Scaling Biryani like scaling burgers. Inside the house of cloud kitchen brands

The steaming biryani, piping hot pizza, or box meal that you order on a food-delivery app often comes to you from commercial kitchens set up solely for the purpose of cooking food for home delivery. 

Known as cloud kitchens in industry parlance, these businesses have become one of the hottest investment themes over the last year as digital adoption rose amid the Covid-induced lockdowns. Ordering food online became an indulgence and a necessity as people stayed in, and the habit is likely to stick even post-pandemic. 

A house of food brands

Cloud kitchen startups such as Rebel Foods, CureFoods, Biryani by Kilo, and EatClub (formerly known as Box8), which are at the forefront of this industry, are now building house of food brands. This strategy is similar to the one followed by US-based breakout startup Thrasio,

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Zydeco’s Louisiana Kitchen in Arizona serves Creole and Cajun foods

Just west of Phoenix, at her food truck in Goodyear, Lyn Thomas demonstrated how to make the ultimate muffaletta. Lyn, who hails from southern Louisiana, explained her technique as she layered slices of deli meats and cheeses on a round of bread the size of a baseball mitt.

“It’s important to take care of the sides, so you don’t get a bite of just bread,” Lyn said. Once she’s done, she’ll wrap the sandwich and put it in the fridge with something heavy stacked on top — that helps her handmade olive relish seep into the loaf.

A fragrant pot of dirty rice simmered on the stove of Zydeco’s Louisiana Kitchen, while the swinging notes of soprano saxophone, performed by New Orleans jazz musician Sidney Bechet, dance out from a quiet speaker.

Lyn’s husband, Top Thomas, likes to play a Pandora radio mix of southern soul, 40s and 50s jazz,

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