In the late 80s I was the very young PR director at Hyatt Regency Ravinia charged with the task of setting up media interviews for Julia Child. She and Robert Mondavi were coming to Atlanta for an American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF) event. My heart was pounding as I dialed her Boston telephone number but I had to giggle when she trilled "Hellooooooooooooooo" on the other end. She was so accommodating with my requests and agreed to spend one day with me during her visit, going from TV station to print media to radio station interviews. As you can guess, that was the easiest press trip I have ever booked as all the Atlanta media wanted to meet her!
Imagine my surprise when, after an early morning TV gig, she announced that she'd like to go have her hair done at Carter-Barnes at Phipps. I had booked her every minute of the day and now I had to reschedule everything, leaving us very little time for lunch. She left for her 2 hour wash-and-set and I started making phone calls! When she was finished we had a mere 30 minutes before our next appointment, a ribbon cutting at the Gwinnett Daily News test kitchen, something I could not change. I suggested a deli at Phipps but in her shrill voice she said, "I always find those sandwiches quite soggy, don't you?" Nervous, I agreed that maybe it wasn't the best but mentioned that we were on a bit of a schedule and needed to eat quickly. This is when she said, "Well, is there a McDonald's nearby?" I was horrified! But she assured me that would be perfect. "I like McDonald's. It's always consistent. Plus we can eat in the car." Oh my. So, I drove Julia Child through the McDonald's drive-thru, with her newly coiffed hair grazing the roof of my little Honda Civic. She had a cheeseburger, fries and a shake and insisted on paying for my meal too.
That afternoon, at our last appointment of the day, I was sitting in the sound booth of WSB radio station while the DJ interviewed Julia Child. I told my story to the sound guys who loved it and tipped off the DJ at the break. Her last question to Julia Child was, "So, Mrs. Child, in our city with all our fine, fine restaurants, please, tell us where you had lunch today." Without missing a beat, Julia proudly answered, "Ooooooh, McDonald's!