Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011
: In 1971, a young Montessori teacher with no cooking experience beyond having friends to dinner inspired some of these friends to help her open a restaurant in Berkley, serving one perfectly delicious meal each night. In 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering
, Alice Waters gives a lively history of how this modest beginning grew into a mecca that helped catalyze the rise of local food culture. Photos and ephemera that evoke each decade come alive through vivid little stories from 90 other collaborators and patrons—the chefs, waiters, fishmongers, farmers, winemakers, bakers, food writers, and friends who grew with the restaurant into an extended, cross-generational family.
First galvanized by political action at UCLA in the mid-‘60s, Waters experienced a more personal revolution in Europe: Paris taught her how food “anchored life to the land” and café culture built community; in London, she devoured the culinary classics Elizabeth David, internalizing her ethic of seeking fresh, local ingredients and “leaving well alone”; and in Greece and Turkey, she awakened to the transformative power of hospitality. Backed by an inventive crew, Waters brought all these elements to life at Chez Panisse, buying directly from growers (giving them, for the first time, bylines on the menu) and cultivating a hospitality that extended into the community through incredible parties and initiatives like the Edible Schoolyard Project. Beyond creating four decades of memorable meals, Chez Panisse demonstrated how restaurants can shift America's cultural relationship to agriculture and eating, a change that gains momentum each year. Destined to become a food-lit classic, this gorgeous volume pays homage to the power of gathering around a table, culminating in this luscious truth: "ripeness is all." --Mari Malcolm
About the Author
ALICE WATERS’s influence on American cooking is unrivaled. She opened Chez Panisse (named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet
) in 1971, Chez Panisse Café in 1980, and Café Fanny in 1984. She founded her career on creating dishes using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients long before sustainability was a household term. Among her many awards, Alice has received the James Beard Best Chef in America, Humanitarian, and Lifetime Achievement awards, and most recently the French Légion d’Honneur. In 1996, she created the Chez Panisse Foundation to fund the Edible Schoolyard, a model of edible education in the public school system. She is the author of eight cookbooks, most recently In the Green Kitchen
and The Art of Simple Food
. For more information about Alice and Chez Panisse, please visit ChezPanisse.com and ChezPanisseFoundation.org.