Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chez Panisse Celebrates Its 40th-Anniversary

It is so inspiring to celebrate women who make a difference.  This summer on August 28 the legendary restaurant Chez Panisse turns 40!  Alice Waters' landmark restaurant in Berkeley, California started many movements in the food industry which have become standard, such as the ongoing farmers' market movement,  California cuisine, and the local-seasonal-orgnanic food philosophy that most chefs have adopted.

Alice at the launch of Chez Panisse in 1971
photo from "Food and Wine"

In the early days Alice worked mostly as a waitress
photo from "Food and Wine"

She pioneered the edible schoolyard garden movement in 2006
photo from "Food and Wine"

Alice Waters once famously gave Bill Clinton a perfect peach as he exited a fundraiser.  "I was sure if I fed the president a perfect peach," Waters writes, "it would bring him to a new understanding of the politics of food."  Alice Waters has for 40 years given us the gift of nurturing our culinary abilities and helping us adopt a healthier life style. And along the way she has inspired many of the cooks amongst us to stretch ourselves and cook from what is seasonally fresh, rather than just from recipes which often call for what is not in season.

A new book is coming out this month on the history of the restaurant with recollections from the generations of Chez Panisse chefs, farmers, purveyors, and friends who have contributed to its success.


We were lucky enough to eat at Chez Panisse this summer and I was thrilled that the restaurant was celebrating Bastille Day with a menu inspired by the recipes of Paula Wolfert.

  Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

Shaved zucchini salad with black olives, preserved lemon, and feta

Pizzetta with tomato sauce, squid, and hot pepper

House-made spaghetti all Norma

Grilled quail with fried squash blossoms

Becker Lane Farm pork cooked in milk with lemon, garlic, spinach, and peas


This is what I bought at my farmer's market recently: 

 I made a tomato salad and turkey tacos with these beautiful heirloom tomatoes and organic avocados:

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese

Turkey Tacos

Because of Alice Waters many of us now buy organic produce at farmers' markets.  This month we can celebrate the woman who started it all!


  1. Oh it all looks so wonderfully delicious.
    I cannot believe it's been 40 years!

  2. I want to eat everything in this post!

  3. This post reminds me of all the delicious food I have enjoyed at your table. Thank you! xo

  4. I have never been to Chez Panisse as they were booked up when we were on holiday in nearby SF. I applaud her diligent work and vision and saw a wonderful program on PBS a few years ago about her work with the school gardens.
    Those plates look amazing, how fortunate that you were able to be there!

  5. How interesting about Chez Panisse, and how wonderful it's a forty year celebration! The food looks so delicious, I would love to try some of all.
    Your farmer's market produce looks so beautiful displayed or on the dinner plate. Great post.

    The French Hutch

  6. It was SUCH a perfect meal. Yay Chez Panisse! xo

  7. I want this meal again! Right now, for breakfast :)

  8. I have never been to Chez Panisse but I will happily join you in celebrating the incredible legacy of Alice Waters and her restaurant!! Your dinner looks fabulous as do your home cooked meals!!