1944: Julia Child

Chef Specialty: Shark Repellant

When the U.S. joined WWII, Americans found unique ways to use their skills to support the war effort. For some, the skills they learned during the war shaped their future. Julia Child began her work with the Office of Strategic Services—the predecessor to the CIA—as a research assistant in the Secret Intelligence division and then transferred to the OSS Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section. The OSS was concerned with reports that sharks were accidentally setting off explosives and attacking downed pilots. Child and her colleagues set about creating a shark repellent to coat explosives and pilots’ life preservers. The Section team tried multiple solutions before eventually finding a recipe that worked—a recipe that Child later jokingly referred to as the “first recipe” in her cooking career.

Read more about Julia Child on CIA's website.