Julie Powell: A Success Story Bloggers Love to Hate On

Mention Julie Powell of "Julie & Julia" and you're bound to get heated response.

ByABC News
August 6, 2009, 11:44 AM

Aug. 7, 2009 — -- The food world is abuzz today as the highly anticipated movie "Julie & Julia" opens across the nation's theaters.

It's a tale of the self-proclaimed "renegade foodie" Julie Powell, whose blog-turned-novel follows her misadventures cooking Julia Child's recipes in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

In the past month or so, I've been receiving countless e-mails about it, encouraging me to see Nora Ephron's film, starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep:

"I just saw this movie. It's about a N.Y. food blogger and her love of Julia Child."

"Monica, go see this movie! It's about writing and food and relationships and Julia Child. I think you'd love it."

As a food blogger, I've been aware of Powell's success in the past few years and have been enjoying the foodie frenzy from the sidelines, but I hadn't quite made up my mind. Mention the name Powell among the blogging community, particularly foodies, and you're bound to get some very heated responses. Some love her and some love to hate her.

Virginia Willis, a professionally-trained chef and best-selling cookbook author, grew up watching Child, played by Meryl Streep in the film, and spent a lot of time with her in the mid-1990s as a burgeoning chef in France. Willis created quite the discussion when her blog post, "Julia and Julie: Yes the Swap Is Intentional," landed on Gawker. Gawker titled it "Prissy Food Bloggers Hate Food Blogger Movie."

Willis used to follow Powell's blog in its early days until she was so turned off she stopped. Her "beef" with Powell is her lack of respect for Child.

"There was one day ... I was just so turned off by it," Willis told ABC News. "I didn't think it was as respectful as it could have been to Julia ... something about roasting a chicken. ... I had an immense respect for Julia and it just sort of turned me off and I quit following it.

"There are people that have Julia Child on a very high pedestal -- I might be considered one of them -- and frankly anything that is seen as disrespectful is seen as a travesty," she added.

One comment on Willis' blog post from NavaAtlas read:

"What really bothered me most about the Julie/Julia phenomenon is simply that the book based on the blog is such badly written drivel. That the movie had to be padded out with scenes from another book about Julia speaks volumes ..."

While another by Dorette read:

"What sticks in my craw is the same. When I read Julie's blog there was a huge lack of respect for Julia, and it seemed to me it was about celebrity, doing something to be noticed and not for the soul of la belle cuisine!"