Nathalie Dupree

Color photograph of Nathalie Dupree making biscuits

Nathalie Dupree with the tools of the biscuit-making trade. Photographed by Sully Sullivan. Garden & Gun.

(1939 - )  Dupree was born in New Jersey, the daughter of Evelyn Cook and Walter G. Meyer.  At nineteen, she decided she wanted to cook for a living. Her mother suggested that, before she embarked on such a venture, Dupree would be wise to first find a “lady” who made a living as a cook. Dupree soon realized that she had few, if any, female role models in the cooking world.

Undaunted, Dupree moved to London, England, with her first husband, David Dupree, and attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school, the only American in her advanced certificate class. While attending Cordon Bleu, she met Julia Child, who suggested that Dupree consider a career in teaching, advice that would ultimately set a trajectory for Dupree’s future. She was chef at a restaurant in Majorca, Spain, before moving to Social Circle, Georgia, in the early 1970s. Dupree opened Nathalie’s, a restaurant featuring fresh regional ingredients, inside the couple’s antique store just outside of town. 

Dupree was a founding member of what would become the International Association of Culinary Professionals, an organization that sets accrediting standards for cooking schools in the United States.  Dupree was contacted by White Lily Flour about hosting a cooking show that focused primarily on the cuisine of the American South.  That led to two more television series, and Dupree soon became the first woman since Julia Child to host more than one hundred televised cooking broadcasts. Ultimately, Dupree would be responsible for more than three hundred half-hour shows for PBS, the Learning Channel, and the Food Network. Dupree’s on-air personality combined technical know-how with a charming grace that often resulted in comfortably controlled kitchen chaos.

Dupree is the sole author of ten books about southern culture, food, and entertaining. Similar to her television shows, Dupree’s published works display an unmistakable southern voice, a style that lilts effortlessly from simple breakfast fare through ladies’ luncheons and afternoon pick-ups to traditional favorites and formal dinner parties. 

An excellent storyteller, Dupree relies on narrative to communicate the ideas and culture that lie behind the food. At the heart of her work as both television host and author is a desire to teach people by making food accessible. Dupree avoids any pretense of perfection, preferring instead to help people learn by participating in the process, mistakes and all.