- Worked as a researcher in the Office of Strategic Services (a forerunner of the CIA) during World War II.
- Attended the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
- Her seminal cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, took over 10 years to perfect before it was published.
- Began her groundbreaking series The French Chef at the age of 51; became the first PBS personality to win an Emmy.
- Loved Dan Aykroyd's celebrated Saturday Night Live parody of her.
- Cofounded the American Institute of Wine & Food in 1981.
- In 1993, became the first woman to be inducted into the Culinary Institute Hall of Fame.
- Was granted an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.
- Received France's highest honor, the Legion d'Honneur, in 2000; and America's highest civilian honor, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2003.
- Adamantly refused endorsement and promotional deals throughout her career.
- Donated her Massachusetts home kitchen and its utensils to the Smithsonian Institution in 2001.