Waters: A Retrospective
by Kevin Schoeler
you want to gain a better understanding of Alice Waters,
Commitment to Sustainability," written by Charles
Shere and the Chez
Panisse board. It contains four hundred words and phrases
like community, comfort, foraging, healthful products and
practices, nourishment, generosity, and respect for traditions.
It's a big statement that sets forth extraordinary
standards. It is impressive. But what is truly amazing is
that Alice Waters has kept her commitment for more than
thirty years. In fact, she is the embodiment of that magnificent
promise. She does not disappoint.
few weeks ago, when the James
Beard Foundation bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award
on Alice Waters, her acceptance was grounded with such humility,
unpretentiousness, and passion, you could almost hear the
goose bumps in the room. Her presence was genuine.
is never enough space to write about her. Which of her many
facets do you feature? They are all tied together in the
end. Of course, there are her restaurants, starting with
the legendary Chez Panisse, founded in 1971. What about
the scores of talent she has incubated in those kitchens?
The Chez Panisse family tree roots spread deep into the
about her tireless advocacy for sustainable farming? It
has changed the way we think about food, and how we eat.
Her community service touches prison inmates as well as
schoolchildren and she's not content to stop there. Next
on her agenda is an overhaul of the school lunch program.
When you hear her discuss that formidable task, it is not
couched in grandiose terms, but you know she'll get it done.
Waters has spent decades linking food and humanity. Most
people will never know that she has touched their lives,
but those who recognize her contributions are comforted
to know that she keeps pressing forward.
now are eight achievements by Alice Waters that you can
take home and use every day. These are the books she has
written or co-authored, beginning with the most recent.
Panisse Fruit by Alice Waters
Features more than 200 sweet and savory dishes that feature
fruit. Recipes are organized alphabetically by fruit name,
so it's easy to find the Grilled Duck Breast with Seville
Orange Sauce. Water's treatises on each fruit are good reading.
Panisse Cooking by Paul Bertolli with Alice
(Peter Smith, 2001)
More than a cookbook, this is a celebration of food, with
menus and recipes that celebrate the seasons. This is inspiration
for any cook, and with recipes like Grilled Fish Wrapped
in Fig Leaves with Red Wine Sauce, every dish is an extraordinary
Panisse Café Cookbook by Alice Waters
Features more than 140 recipes from the equally exquisite
but more casual upstairs bistro opened by Waters and company
in 1980. Think Green Garlic Pudding Soufflé, and
Baked Pasta with Sardines and Wild Fennel.
at Chez Panisse: A Child's Restaurant Adventure with 46
Recipes by Alice Waters
Water's daughter, Fanny, is in college now, but this book
is about the then-seven-year-old's adventure with food and
life—and recipes from Roast Chicken with Herbs to
Panisse Vegetables by Alice Waters
Thanks to Alice Waters, we have farmers markets with high
quality organic vegetables. After shopping, we can get busy
with Fresh Shell Bean Puree on Grilled Bread, or Chanterelle
Pasta. There are more than 250 recipes, arranged alphabetically
Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere,
preface by Alice Waters
(Random House, 1993)
Shere, the former and longtime pastry chef at Chez Panisse,
shares her generous collection of stupendous desserts—including
a flawless Cinnamon Ice Cream, lovely cookies, and much
more. Fruit desserts are especially notable.
Panisse Pasta, Pizza and Calzone by Alice Waters
(Random House, 1984)
Contains 87 pasta recipes, and 36 pizzas and calzones. They
are arranged by season, which means there is still time
for White Asparagus, Brown Butter, Parmesan, & Fettuccine.
Otherwise, look forward to a Pizza topped with Stewed Garlic,
Pancetta, & Artichoke Hearts.
Panisse Menu Cookbook by Alice Waters
(Random House, 1982)
Waters' first cookbook features 120 recipes arranged in
those memorable menus that only Chez Panisse can do just
so. It doesn't get any better than a picnic that begins
with Charcoal-Grilled Chicken Wings with Lemon and Pepper
Goat Cheese and Lentil Salad, or a Zinfandel Festival dessert
of Poached Pears and Figs in Zinfandel with Cassis Cream.