Louisette Bertholle

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Louisette Bertholle (26 October 1905 – 26 November 1999) was a French chef and author, best known as one of the three authors (with Julia Child and Simone Beck) of the bestselling cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.[1]


She was born Louisette Remion on October 26, 1905. Sometime after 1928, she married Paul Bertholle, a businessman.

After World War II, Louisette Bertholle, who had the idea of writing a French cookbook for American cooks, met Simone Beck via the Le Cercle des Gourmettes culinary club and the two began to develop the concept further, collecting recipes and testing them. Their initial attempts at writing were unsuccessful, however their idea was rekindled in 1949 when they met Julia Child. Bertholle and Beck did successfully publish the short cookbook What's Cooking in France in 1952, and the three women founded their own cooking school, L'Ecole des Trois Gourmandes, in 1951.[2] The latter was created to give French cooking lessons to American women living in Paris, and Child, as well as Beck, would wear the school's logo on her blouse when appearing on television.

By 1960 Bertholle's life had changed significantly: her marriage was failing, she was having financial difficulties and was already over 50. However, she was able to reinvent herself and restart her career via her participation with Child and Beck.[1] The three women had initially signed a contract to publish Mastering the Art of French Cooking with Houghton Mifflin. The publishing company ultimately rejected the submitted manuscript, believing it was too much like an encyclopedia.[3] When it was finally published in 1961 by Alfred A. Knopf, the 734-page book was a best-seller and received critical acclaim.[4]

Bertholle later remarried, to the Comte Henry Bandit de Nalèche, becoming the Comtesse de Nalèche in the process.[5] She published additional books in France, and wrote a daily recipe for France-Soir for many years.

She is played by American actress Helen Carey in the 2009 film Julie & Julia.


  • What's Cooking in France (1952, coauthor with Simone Beck)
  • Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961, coauthor with Julia Child and Simone Beck)
  • Secrets of the Great French Restaurants (1974)
  • Une Grande Cuisine Pour Tous (1976)
  • French Cuisine For All (1980)


  1. ^ a b Abigail Trafford (2 March 2010). "Julia Child's co-author succeeded in the kitchen but also in second half of life". Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2010.
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew (1 May 2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford University Press, USA. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-19-530796-2.
  3. ^ Mia Stainsby (5 August 2009). "Julie, Julia and Judith: The editor behind the culinary legend". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  4. ^ Kam Williams (13 August 2009). "Meryl Streep channels Julia Child in bifurcated bio-pic". The Leader. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  5. ^ Child, Julia (March 12, 2009). My Life in France. Gerald Duckworth & Co. ISBN 0715639927.