In 1971, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley and training at the Montessori School in London, Waters opened Chez Panisse with a fixed-price menu that changed daily. The menu format is the heart of Waters’ philosophy of serving only the highest quality products, only when they are in season. Over its more than three decades of existence, Chez Panisse has developed a network of mostly local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures Chez Panisse a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients. In 1997, Waters helped launch the Edible Schoolyard on the campus of the local Martin Lurther King Jr., Middle School. On the one-acre plot, students not only raise fruits and vegetables but also learn about food production and preparation in gardening and cooking classes. Waters has authored and co-authored eight food-related books. In 2001, Chez Panisse was named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet magazine. Waters has received numerous awards, including the Bon Appetit magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and the James Beard Humanitarian Award in 1997. She was named Best Chef in America by the James Beard Foundation in 1992 and Cuisine et Vins de France listed her as one of the world’s 10 best chefs in 1986. Alice Waters is a strong advocate for farmer’s markets and for sound and sustainable agriculture.
“The experience in nature is so comforting to these kids who have never had their hands in the ground before. They just need to be here. They want to be in the garden.” – Alice Waters, Dirt! The Movie