A friend gave me this book recently and I am absolutely smitten by this Silver Lining. 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering is a photographic tribute to the Berkeley restaurant that traces its cultural history through the stories of Alice Waters and her personal and professional friends, celebrating the restaurant’s tradition of gathering around the table and its pioneering sustainable foods practices.
Chez Panisse opened its doors in 1971, Chez Panisse Café in 1980, and Café Fanny in 1984. Founded by Alice Waters, the restaurants are rooted in her belief 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. I mean, how cool is this? Her convictions were (and continue to be!) revolutionary.
Alice Water’s influence on American cooking is clearly unrivaled. Her quest for the very best ingredients has always determined the Chez Panisse’s cuisine, and, over the course of forty years, the restaurant 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.
The HOTY and I had the great and good fortune to go to lunch at Chez Panisse a couple of years ago. The best way to describe our experience is: utterly magical. I have the happiest memories of our time there. From the moment we sat down to the second we (grudgingly) left, it was spectacularly amazing!
To add to her list of good deeds (& good karma!), in 1996, Alice Waters created the Chez Panisse Foundation to fund the Edible Schoolyard, a model of edible education in the public school system. Oh and she is also the author of eight cookbooks, most recently In the Green Kitchen and The Art of Simple Food.
Organized by decade, this 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 a Silver Lining work for anyone who cares about food, sustainability, and the powerful legacy that Alice has built. I hope that you enjoy it!
From 40 Years of Chez Panisse:
Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.
– The Dalai Lama