A legal battle pits Julia Child's heirs against the Irvine-based manufacturer of Thermador ovens over a marketing campaign, launched without the permission of the culinary icon's estate, that touts her use of its appliances.
Child was adamant about not endorsing products and brands, ever. Not for butter, appliances or even the cookbooks of friends.
“It was sort of a life philosophy that she had,” her great-nephew, Alex Prud’homme, told The Times, recalling how she frequently remarked, “Your name is your most valuable asset, and you should be very careful how it’s used.”
According to The Times:
The campaign rolled out this year by Thermador ... ranged from a Facebook “like” of its products by “Julia Child, chef” to glossy magazine ads that showed photos of Child and two of the brand’s ovens with the caption, “An American Icon and Her American Icons.”
Both sides agree that there were Thermador appliances on the Boston set where Child filmed “The French Chef” in the 1960s and 1970s and that she had a Thermador oven in the kitchen of her Cambridge, Mass., residence -- a room now displayed as a national treasure at the Smithsonian Institution.
But the sides part on whether Thermador required the approval of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, the Santa Barbara charitable foundation to which she left her intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights and the use of her likeness.