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40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gatheringby Alice Waters
Synopses & Reviews
Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971. Founded by Alice Waters, the restaurant is rooted in her conviction that the best-tasting food is organic, locally grown, and harvested in ecologically sound ways by people who are taking care of the land for future generations. The quest for such ingredients has always determined the restaurant’s cuisine, and, over the course of forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients.
In Forty Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, Alice takes readers on her journey from the humble and visionary beginnings of the restaurant, through its rise and the acclaim, to the Café and the influential Chez Panisse Foundation. Organized by decade, the book includes a wealth of archival material and photographs—menus; invitations; pictures of Alice at the restaurant and around the world, with those who have passed through her life—and interviews from public figures and cooks who have been inspired by or mentored at the restaurant.
This tribute to the delicious food revolution that began with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse is an important work for anyone who cares about food, sustainability, and the powerful legacy that Alice has built.
"There are no recipes to speak of in this narrative history of Chez Panisse, the iconic Berkeley, Calif., restaurant that redefined American dining — but the rich store of anecdotes, poetry, and artwork are flavorful and satisfying on their own. Equally inspired by the Free Speech Movement on the UC Berkeley campus and her travels to France in the 1960s, Waters began hosting dinner parties at her home as a young woman and publishing her favorite recipes in the San Francisco Express Times. This was all groundwork for the eatery she opened in 1971 with writer Greil Marcus as an investor. From the outset Chez Panisse was a gathering place for the creative and politically minded, attracting adventuresome diners with its novel fixed-price, daily changing menu. Ruth Reichl recalls her earliest meal there — rosÃ©, anchovies, and cheese — and the inspiration she drew for her own cooking from Waters's sophisticated kitchen. Other recollections are supplied by vintners, food writers, servers, foragers, wine merchants, and chefs who all crossed paths with the restaurant, either as customers or employees. Photos of late-night dance parties, celebrity visits, and chefs in the kitchen are included, as are still images from the Les Blank film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, which was filmed on site (the shoe was cooked in duck fat) after Herzog lost a bet. Special celebration menus, cookbook covers, event posters, and accounts of the restaurant's community service over the years are layered onto the scrapbook-style collage. Fans of Waters' cooking, modern-day slow food adherents, and anyone interested in 1970s counterculture California will enjoy this behind-the-scenes account of a legend in the making. Photos. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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.
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