Alice Waters

Chef, Restaurateur

Berkeley

Alice Waters, chef, author, culinary pioneer and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are sustainable and local. In 1996, her commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School — a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom and an “eco-gastronomic” curriculum. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, which integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the curriculum of all public schools in the U.S. She is vice president of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food. Waters has written a handful of books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.

  • On March 20, 2013
    Sarah Gleim is now following Alice Waters
  • On March 15, 2013
    Natalie Wearstler is now following Alice Waters
  • On February 15, 2013
    Maria Hunt is now following Alice Waters
  • On February 12, 2013
    Kim Atkinson is now following Alice Waters
  • On January 29, 2013
    Linnea Covington is now following Alice Waters
  • On January 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato is now following Alice Waters
  • On October 17, 2012
    Alice Waters answered the question: Alice Waters

    What are Alice Waters' favorite ingredients?

    I don’t think I could live without salad. I don’t think I could live without bread. And I don’t think I could live without beautiful fruit. Garlic. That’s probably number one—garlic. You know, I think people associate me with salad because I would like to have a salad—a little green—with every meal.
  • On October 17, 2012
    Alice Waters answered the question: Alice Waters

    How does Alice Waters define California cuisine?

    The way that I think about what I’m doing—it’s not really new—it’s something that’s very old. It’s growing food nearby; picking it when it’s ripe, bringing it home; cooking it with family and friends; and eating it together. That’s really what I was trying to do with the restaurant. So in the search for local ingredients, people would think of what we were doing here as California cuisine, or new American cooking, but it’s about a philosophy of food that has been around for a very, very long time. It’s just that we’ve been disconnected with that. And we’re kind of coming back to our senses.
  • On October 17, 2012
    Alice Waters answered the question: Alice Waters

    Where does the name of Chez Panisse restaurant come from?

    The name of Chez Panisse comes from the films of Marcel Pagnol These beautiful films that were made in the ‘30s in France. And I just laughed and cried when I first saw them. And I wanted that spirit in this place. So I named the restaurant after the character, the one that made the most money, Panisse, and I named my daughter after one of the other characters in the film—Fanny.
  • On October 17, 2012
    Alice Waters answered the question: Alice Waters

    How did Alice Waters decide to become a chef?

    I went to France when I was 19. I don’t know whether I ever really seriously thought about food before I went to France, but I was just taken in. I was surprised by the market and by the little restaurants, and the delicious bread, and all of the ways that people were living their lives. I wanted to live like that. So when I came back, I started to cook for my friends. Then I started teaching Montessori school, and I just thought, “I’d really like to cook.” And maybe this would be a way that I could have my friends come and eat, but then they’d pay for it.