Empowering the Freelance Economy

Julie Powell, author behind Julie & Julia, dies at 49

The book that transformed freelance food blogger Julie Powell's life and career, and inspired thousands of home cooks.
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The Julie & Julia food blogger turned author and movie sensation, Julie Powell, has died at her home in New York at the age of 49. Powell, who died of a cardiac arrest, is survived by her husband, brother and parents, according to news reports. The Freelance Informer looks back at what she created and how all of us can learn from her inspirational journey.


Julie Powell should be an inspiration to all freelancers. Well, anyone really, who feels “stuck” in life or their jobs. Or feels they may have lost their true selves along the way.

As she was approaching her 30th birthday, she decided to do something that was just for her, a goal that would ultimately change the course of her life and career. The thing was, she didn’t know that it would or that it would inspire a book, movie and hundreds of thousands of home cooks. After her goal received worldwide attention and inspired a Nora Ephron film, she saw in hindsight that if you want to do something that everyone tells you is a waste of time or “crazy”, then you’re probably onto something.

Now back to how it all started. It was 2002. She was “a secretary who lived with her husband, three cats and a python above a diner on a barren street in Long Island City”. Something in her life needed to shift, so she set herself on a year-long quest to recreate all 524 recipes from her mother’s copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, a 1961 classic recipe book by Julia Child, a TV chef and the doyenne of French cookery in the US.

That quest took the form of a Blog on an independent and free news platform called Salon.com. Today you can still read Powell’s recipes and her journey to master each dish with her unique humour and humility.

Those who worked with her, say “she truly made her own lane.”

Below is a post she had published just days before she died, highlighting that no matter how much success she has experienced, she still has those scary moments as a writer. Her authenticity and honesty were among the qualities her followers and book fans adored about her.

Despite criticisms of her cooking memoir, in 2009, Powell was awarded an honorary diploma from Le Cordon Bleu, the same cooking school from which Child graduated in 1951.[11]


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