Seeing the business I am in, one would assume Alice Waters would be a name that rolled off my tongue as easily as “drink green smoothies!” However, she ducked under my radar until an old friend, aghast, forced me onto Amazon in his presence to order at least one of her tomes.
In case you, too, need to know Ms. Waters, she is a pioneer who, in the 60′s before it was trendy, molded her food philosophy around the big four: Local. Sustainable. Fresh. Fine.
Over 40-years ago, she opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California where she makes it a priority to showcase produce from local farmers. The menu changes nightly and according to season, availability and freshness. While Chez Panisse does serve fish and meat it is local, organic and sustainably raised.
Beyond her famous dining room, Alice is a pioneer in the education world as well In 1996, she started The Edible Schoolyard Project.
“By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instills the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future. The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower young people. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all public schools in the United States.”
Excerpt from: (http://www.chezpanisse.com/about/alice-waters/)
Doesn’t she just sound RAWSOME?
I have one of her (many alluring) books, simply entitled, “Vegetables.”
It is much more than a cookbook. Peppered with her philosophy, it celebrates how wonderful seasonal food fresh from the garden is. For each vegetable, there is a lovely illustration that feels very French and outlines when the veggie is in peak season and how best to prepare it.
I had never heard of a “cardoon,” but learned it is a Mediterranean favorite that looks like “an overgrown thistle.” While many Americans will probably bypass preparing it, she notes it does make a lovely addition to your landscape especially when in bloom.
I feel blessed to finally have met (on paper anyway), Alice Waters and look forward to reading more on her philosophies and recipes..and hopefully will be lucky enough to dine at Chez Panisse someday.