Chef, author, activist, and founder of Chez Panisse restaurant and the Edible Schoolyard Project
Photo credit: Gilles Mingasson
About Alice Waters
Over the course of 40 years, Alice Waters has created and passionately supported a culinary philosophy that maintains that food should be organic, sustainable and locally sourced. Opening her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971, which has ranked among the “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” for the last four decades, her commitment to finding the highest-quality, seasonal ingredients has created a network of local farmers and purveyors dedicated to sustainable agriculture. Her focus on education further led to the creation of the Edible Schoolyard Project in 1996, which is committed to transforming public education and supports projects that incorporate gardening and preparing healthy meals into the school curriculum.
Waters’ influence is extensive: she is vice president of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has more than 100,000 members in over 130 countries. Her other numerous honors include being co-recipient, with Kofi Annan, of the Global Environmental Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School in 2008, and being named to the French Legion of Honor in 2009. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change.
Her speaking engagements include, among others, lecture series and university talks related to food ethics and values, just and sustainable agriculture, and the transformative power of growing, cooking, and sharing food.
Alice Waters is the author of ten books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution, In the Green Kitchen, 40 Years of Chez Panisse: The Power of Gathering, The Art of Simple Food II: Recipes, Flavor, and Inspiration from the New Kitchen Garden, and My Pantry. Her most recent book, Coming to My Senses, is a New York Times bestseller and critically-acclaimed memoir in which Waters shares the tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America’s most influential restaurant.
Slow Food Values in a Fast Food World
How the values of our fast-food world—efficiency, availability, and cheapness—have influenced our society. Are Slow Food values the antidote to our current culture of convenience? In this speech, Alice discusses the principles of Slow Food—sustainability, seasonality, and community—in creating a “delicious revolution.”
The Power of Gathering: 40 Years of Chez Panisse
Since opening its doors in Berkeley in 1971, Chez Panisse has been considered a pioneer of the farm to table movement. Inspiring American cuisine for over four decades, Chez Panisse maintains its same dedication to sourcing only the best local, seasonal ingredients in determining its menus. In this speech, Alice reflects upon her inspiration in starting the restaurant—a desire to recreate the food and culture she experienced while studying in France—and shares her personal stories about the beginnings of what would become one of America’s most notable and admired restaurants.
A speech for parents, educators, and community leaders interested in introducing the edible schoolyard curriculum into the classroom, Alice discusses the importance of edible education in empowering students with the knowledge and values to make food choices that are healthy for them, their communities, and the environment.
Books by Alice Waters
Media About Alice Waters
- 212 572-2013
- Alice Waters travels from Berkeley, CA
Coming to My Senses
“[Waters] does an artful job of showing how even the most apparently unrelated experiences helped lead her to her profession. She is also quite frank about her failures; her relationships with lovers, friends, and colleagues; and her pride in remaining a part of the 1960's counterculture that nourished her. An almost charmed restaurant life that exhales the sweet aromas of honesty and self-awareness.”