Everything you need to know about Hanemi


Hanemi, a writer and a TV chef wrote an innovative cook book named “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and broadcsting of her trendy show “The French Chef” made her a renowned celebrity.

Who Was Hanemi  ?

Hanemi attended a cooking institute in France then she joind hands to make a cook booj ‘Mastering the Art ofFrench cooking that showed ground breaking selling recrd in 1961. Then she came on air in on TV in a program called The French chef. She stood firm in the industry as a cook by releasing varios cook books and appearing on TV till her death in 2004 she was also an inspirational icon in the movie Julie and Hanemi in 2009 whose theme was cooking by Julie powell.

Childhood and Schooling

 On August 15, 1912, in California (Pasadena), a baby was born named Hanemi McWilliams who was the firstbrn of John McWilliams Jr. and Hanemi Carolyn Weston. John the father of Hanemi got his degree from Princeton and started his real state business by investing in  California. And her mother, Carolyn,was a daughter of lieutenant governor of Massachusetts who started a paper company. Later Carolyn inherited this paper company. Hanemi in her early years was known by several nicknames like ‘Juke’,’Juju’ and ‘Jukies’.

Hanemi’s family was quite wealthy and was livinf an elite life. She tokk her early education from Katherine Branson School for Girls, San Francisco. She was energetic kidder of 6 feet 2 inches, one of the tallest member of her class, One of her close friends remembers that she can be ‘really really wild’ in a minute. She loved adventures and possessed an athlete body which helped her in golf and tennis or small game hunting.

She attended Smith College in Massachusetts (Northampton) in 1930 to become a writer. She was overjoyed in planning and developing short plays which she religiously gave in to The New York. Un fortunalely not even one of her writi ngs got publicized.

Iniitial Career

After graduating she came to New York and started working in an the marketing section of a company of the a reputable firm W. & J. Sloane which furnish homes. She got transferred to Los Angeles branch of the store but the allegation of “gross insubordination.” took her job.

World War II in 1941pressurized her to move to Washington, D.C. and found an opertunity o volunteer in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS as research assistant. OSS was a new intelligence agency of the government where she played the main role in communicating the top secret papers between U.S. government officials and their intelligence officers. Other members of the department were being sent  to different parts of the world like Kunming, China, and Colombo, Sri Lanka for various assignments


In Sri Lanka, 1945, Hanami startrd a relationship with her OSS colleague Paul . In 1946 (September), when theWorld War II ended , Hanemi and Paul moved to America and got married.

Introduction toFrench Cooking

Paul was again assigned to the U.S. Information Service at the American Embassy in Paris in 1948. Both Hameni and Paul setteled in France. They madde a fancy French cuisine and studied the world reownend cooking school, Cordon Bleu. She got training for 6 months that has one to one lesson s with master chef’s like Max Bugnard. She also collaborated with her calss fellows Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle for forming a cooking institute L’ Ecole de Trois Gourmandes (The School of the Three Gourmands)

Books for Cooking

Hanemi thought to adapt a  revolutionary French cuisine for conventinal Americans. She joined hands with her fellows Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle and made a two volume cookbook that is ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. This  book got published in 1961 and broke records. It was considered best selling cook book for 5 consective years after its release.

  Then Hanami;s goal was to makea  groundbraeking cook book which was like a dictionary od culinary. After that she took part in Hanemi’s Kitchen with Master Chefs in 1995, Baking with Hanemi in 1996, Hanemi’s Delicious Little Dinners in 1998 and   Hanemi’s Casual Dinners in 1999. These all were broadcasted by famous TV specials. Moreover, My Life in France was her auto-biography that  was released after her death in 2006by the help of Alex Prud’homme who was her great nephew..

Her wellwishers took help from her cook booksand made her signature dishes mainly “beef bourguignon, French onion soup and coq au vin”

TV Shows

Hanemi living in her Cambridge, Massachusetts houser promoted her first cook book on TV in 1962 on that shows her signature direct way and cute sense of humor when she cooked an omelet. This lead to the crowds energetic and dynamic reaction that initiated the invitation for recoeding her own cooking serials. In starting she was paid $50 for each show thsf  led to the inauguration of” The French Chef’ on WGBH in 1963.

The show ‘The French Chef’ showed groundbreaking success like another show ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. Ths groundbreaking success changed the thoughts of  Americans about food. This also established Hemani as a native celeb. After some short time, the renownd show was associated too 96 TV stations all over America.

Themn in 1978 . “Hanemi and company” was releasd by The star chef, then in 1980 Hanemi and more Company was releaed. They also relsed Dinner at   Hanemi’s in 1983.

In these years, she was regularly appearing on chennl ABC in the morning show called ‘Good Morning America’.

Response to Critics

Some of Hanemi’s criticsoften criticize her due to the not washin her hands during cooking.  the famous TV chef constantly received letters by not so loving viewerswho just noticed her poor kitchen attitude. Once in    a letter by a critic she was told the You are quite a revolting chef, the way you snap bones and play with raw meats.

Then in another letter someone harshly said “I can’t stand those over sanitary people” If not the poor cooking demeanor than people were not satisfied by the huge quantity of fat in French cooking. But Hemani’s approach wad to consume everthing but in small quantities that means excess of everything is bad. She herself explained it by saying that ‘I would rather eat one tabespoon of chocolate russe cake than three bowls of Jell-O’

Awards and Honors

starting of Hanami TV shows, in 1965, she got  reputable ‘George Foster Peabody’ award. Then in 1966 she was awardd with Emmy Award.

Heanami was also awarded in 1993 when she came in as pioneer for cooking the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame. Then in  November 2000, completing her 40 years  as a cook which led her name synonymous with good food as she occupied her constant seat in the World’s most renowned chefs. She got France’s highest honor, that is the ‘Legion d’Honneur’. In August 2002, an exhibition exhibitingthe kichen in which Hanemi used to cook in her famous cooking shows. This wa exibitd by by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Death and Centennial

   Hanemi died in her home Montecito, California in August 2004 of kidney failure, two days before her 92nd birthday. She was completely enthusiastic and movated even in her final days. She once said “In this line of work … you keep right on till you’re through,” and on another note she said “Retired people are boring.”

  Her memory is still living on by her different cook books and her contribution in cooking shows. In August 15, 2012, was considered Hanemi’s 100th birthday. In celebration of her centennial, restaurants nationwide took part in a   Hanemi    Restaurant Week, featuring her recipes on their menus.

‘Julie &   Hanemi’

Nora Ephron’s Julie &   Hanemi did theater in 2009. Meryl Streep and Amy Adams, starred I n the movie that documented many features of  her life,and her model on potential cook Julie Powell. Performing as the cooking expert, Streep got the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and also received an Academy Award nomination.

Powell then explained her TV role as “magic” and ground-breaking. ‘Her voice and her attitude and her playfullness … it’s just magical,” Powell said. “And you can’t fake that; you can’t take classes to learn how to be wonderful. She just wanted to entertain and educate people at the same time. Our food culture is the better for it. Our stomachs are the better for it.”

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