Q&A: Anne Willan on Julia Child and Smuggling Truffles in From France

Willan’s new memoir, One Soufflé At A Time, is out today.

When you’re asked to tea at the Santa Monica home of Anne Willan—founder of France’s La Varenne cooking school and author of this month’s memoir, One Soufflé At A Time (St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages, $28)—expect her to bust out the silver. We imagine that Julia Child, Willan’s lifelong friend, received the same treatment.

Did the two of you ever pal around L.A.? 
Julia and I went to the early Citrus together. It was always a wonderfully long dinner when you dined with Julia. But she’d flown in that afternoon—she was quite elderly—and I told her how amazing it was that she had no jet lag. “Oh, it’s all psychological!” she said.

You write of smuggling gourmet goodies between France and the United States. Did you ever get caught? 
No, thank goodness. I once brought some truffles in my suitcase, and they permeate everything. For a while, whenever I put on my clothes, they stank of truffles.