Chef Alice Waters
Alice Waters was born on April 28, 1944, in Chatham, New Jersey. She graduatedfrom the University of California at Berkeley in 1967 with a degree in French Cultural Studies. She then trained at the Montessori School in London,followed by a year traveling in France. She has a daughter, Fanny, who was born in 1983.
She opened Chez Panisse in 1971 in Berkeley,California, serving a five-course, fixed price menu that changes daily.To this day, the set menu format remains at the heart of Alice's philosophy of serving the highest quality products according to the season. Over two decades, she has discovered and encouraged a network of organic farmers and ranchers who now ensure Chez Panisse a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients.
The upstairs cafe opened in 1980, and features an à la carte menu with an open kitchen and a wood-burning pizza oven. In 1984, Café Fanny, a stand-up café serving breakfast and lunch opened a few miles from the restaurant.
Currently, Alice is involved with developing an edible garden in Berkeley's Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. This project involves the children directly in planting, gardening, harvesting, cooking, and eating, with the goal of illuminating the vital relationship of food to their lives, while teaching them respect for each other and for the planet. It is intended to be a significant part of the school's curriculum and to help resuscitate its lunch program. The King Middle School Edible Schoolyard is conceived as a pilot project to serve as a model for schools across the country.
Among Alice's many board affiliations are the Advisory Board of the University of California at Berkeley; the Public Voice on Food Safety and Health; and the Garden Project. The Garden Project began as an organic garden within the San Francisco County Jail and has now extended its job-training outreach to other areas of the community.
Alice is author and co-author of several books, including The Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook, Fanny at Chez Panisse, a storybook and cookbook for children, and, most recently, the encyclopedic Chez Panisse Vegetables. She has also received numerous prestigious awards, which include being named one of the ten best chefs in the world in 1986, by the magazine Cuisine et Vins du France; Best Chef in America and Best Restaurant in America, from the James Beard Foundation, in 1992; and an honorary degree from Mills College, Oakland, California, in 1994.