Alice Waters discusses California food history and future of food education

ByJanel Andronico via Localish logo
Friday, October 29, 2021
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Food icon and Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters recalls her involvement in farm-to-table history and shares her plans for enriching food education.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Chez Panisse restaurateur and food activist Alice Waters pioneered the farm-to-table movement and California cuisine. In fact, she is often referred to as "Mother of American Food."

"This is the 50th anniversary of Chez Panisse," said Waters. "And so it's a moment to pause and think about what's happened, and what could happen to Chez Panisse."

Waters has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. Before opening Chez Panisse, she attended UC Berkeley where she decided to study abroad in France.

"I experienced a way of living that woke me up," recalled Waters. "Every day we would go to a little restaurant and they would have what was ripe, available at that moment in time. I had never experienced in that way."

During her trip, Waters also spent time shopping for local produce and preparing fresh, simple foods, an experience that would inspire the farm-to-table movement in America.

Chez Panisse incorporates fresh, local ingredients into every dish and also gives back to farms in a special way.

"Now it's restaurant-to-farm," expressed Waters. "We take all of the scraps from the food back to the farm, nourish the soil with the compost."

Waters also gives back through food education, starting The Edible Schoolyard Project, which allows students to learn how to grow their own food and prepare it.

"That is my big initiative right now is to understand the way that we can cook in the public schools, how we can purchase food from local, regenerative, organic farmers...how we can feed children," said Waters.

She added, "I know that this is what we need to teach in school: the pleasure of the table, the consequences of the everyday decisions we make about food."

Visit here for more information about Chez Panisse.

To learn more about The Edible Schoolyard Project, go here.