Julie Andrieu: “The vegetable garden is a subject that has never been treated on television”

INTERVIEW. – The host is launching her new program “Les potagers de Julie” on France 3, in which she takes a close interest in growing vegetables.

With global warming and ecological problems, planting a vegetable garden has never been so fashionable. Following this momentum, Julie Andrieu launches the program “Les potagers de Julie” every Saturday at 4:15 p.m. on France 3. For this first issue, the host was interested in Barbentane eggplant. Advice on sowing and growing your plants, meeting passionate amateur gardeners and cooking recipes are on the program for this unique event. A novice, or almost, in terms of the vegetable garden, the host cook confides in this new adventure.

TV MAGAZINE. – How did the idea for this new show come about?
Julie ANDRIEU. – Five or six years ago, I wanted to do a show with Alain Passard who is the king of the vegetable garden but it didn’t happen. After the Covid, we talked a lot about food autonomy and understood the issues behind it all. I myself planted some vegetables during confinement with my children and it allowed me beautiful moments of sharing and satisfaction. I then said to myself that we really had to do this show. I went back to the niche and the program was born two years later. It must be said that this is a subject that has never been treated in television. We talk a lot about gardening but not about the vegetable garden.

What is your personal connection with the vegetable garden?
If I know a ray in the kitchen, this is not the case for the production of the raw material. Finally, it’s a shame not to really know how vegetables grow. I was raised in the city and I didn’t know this transmission from the vegetable garden by parents or grandparents. I really wanted to learn and, as I have always lived my adventures through television such as travel or cooking, the idea came to make this show. I don’t hide my lack of experience and knowledge in the matter because I find it interesting that the viewer can identify with me.

How is the show structured?
Each episode highlights a fruit or vegetable such as eggplant for this premiere, strawberries or potatoes. I made a vegetable garden at home with the help of Lola, a young market gardener whom I have known for a long time and who, after working in the cinema, chose the land by becoming a market gardener. She teaches me the basics of market gardening, how to plant correctly, find solutions to avoid parasites… I then go to the four corners of France to meet very seasoned amateur gardeners. We were in the hinterland of Montpellier for tomatoes, in the North for beans, in Brittany for strawberries…

“Getting vegetables that we have planted represents a satisfaction that I did not suspect”

Julie Andrieu

What are the main difficulties but also the good surprises inherent in the vegetable garden that you have discovered?
Obtaining vegetables that we have planted represents a satisfaction that I did not suspect. But, making a vegetable garden is also a real lesson in humility because we are extremely dependent on factors that we do not control, such as the climate. We have to adapt and try to limit our water and energy resources as much as possible. But ultimately, these are exciting challenges. I try to save as much water as possible so when I wash my vegetables or cook them, I keep this water to put back in the vegetable patch. These are small reflexes that I acquired in contact with all the people I met. I also realized that I generated a lot of waste and that made me think about my way of life.

It seems that the return of the vegetable garden is linked to the need to protect the planet, to be more careful, what do you think?
There are several virtues to a vegetable garden with, first of all, the economic factor. Most of the people we met explained to us that what had motivated them, beyond the pleasure of putting their hands in the ground, was to reduce their market gardening budget while having quality vegetables. There is also the health side. Sébastien, the passionate gardener I meet in the first show, had a lot of problems and his vegetable garden helped him heal and rebuild himself psychologically. The vegetable garden therefore has therapeutic virtues. And then, you also have the impression that you are useful to both the planet and the life of your family, so it’s very positive.

So you have a vegetable garden at home now?
During confinement, I had made three furrows in my garden on my lawn to plant tomatoes, zucchini and peppers. It was just to take care of the children, but it made me want to go further. Now, thanks to Lola and the show, we have a real vegetable garden. I harvest with my children and I hope that next year we will plant together. They love inviting friends over to show them the different varieties that are growing. We have an abundance of vegetables and we have to be imaginative in storing them, preserving them and cooking them. It pushes me to go a little further in the kitchen.

Will “Les carnets de Julie” and “A la table de” come back?
I don’t know at the moment. “Julie’s Notebooks” has existed for ten years so I would understand that France 3 might want to move on… For “A la table de”, there is still material. I have in mind a lot of characters to treat like Molière, Montaigne or actors like John Gabin with which my mother toured several times. I also wanted to do Louis de Funes because food was really a subject in his films. He was also passionate about the garden and the production of vegetables.

” I do not watch TV. Not that it doesn’t interest me since it’s my job, but since I have children, I don’t find the time to watch it, especially in prime time.

Julie Andrieu

“MasterChef” has been relaunched on France 2, have you been contacted to be part of the jury?
No I was not contacted to do “MasterChef”. I know it well Agathe Lecaron, I think she’s a great girl and I’m sure she plays her role very well on the show. But, I confess that I did not watch it. In fact, I don’t watch TV. Not that it doesn’t interest me since it’s my job, but since I have children, I can’t find the time to watch it, especially in prime time. I’m not either “Top chef” but I hear a lot of good things said about it. I think I cook so much every day that when I have a bit of free time, I want to eat other things. But, what is great is that these programs have given rise to vocations in a sector that desperately needed it. It can also make people, even non-professionals, cook more.

Julie Andrieu has launched her own magazine entitled “À croquer!” Guillaume Czerw

You released “À croquer”, your own magazine, why this desire?
It was a small family press group in Clermont-Ferrand that suggested the idea to me. They were able to convince me by telling me about the many recipes I have in my possession, the fact that I have traveled often and that I have a lot to pass on. I got into the game, it amused me. I got really involved and the newspaper really looks like me. The next one comes out on October 6.

Julie Andrieu: “The vegetable garden is a subject that has never been treated on television”