Alice Waters Celebrates 40 Years

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Alice Waters sits on a makeshift school bench on Maiden Lane to talk with friends and fans.

    For just a few hours Wednesday, a small lane off of Union Square took part in a revolution that started 40 years ago. And it was a delicious revolution at that.

    The Chez Panisse founder and the Queen of Slow Food, Alice Waters, took over San Francisco's Maiden Lane Wednesday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her famed Berkeley restaurant.

    The 67-year-old celebrity chef was joined by Robert Hanson, the president of Levi's Global Brand, who are co-sponsoring a t-shirt project that benefits Waters' the Edible Schoolyard Project.

    "We've been so consumed by the fast food nation, it's time to go back," the charismatic Waters said. "(It's) time to reclaim, to reclaim our lives, to reclaim our culture and to reclaim our food."

    In 1971, Waters began a movement when she opened Chez Panisse, which prided itself on using local, fresh and organic ingredients.

    But being one of the founders of the movement, Waters realized she had to establish her own relationships with farmers to serve her new restaurant.

    Wednesday, Waters served organic box lunches to a crowd that lined up to meet the chef and donate $5 to taste the food, which costs significantly more than a Lincoln at her restaurant.

    In the shadow of Union Square's monstrous buildings, Waters served chicken sandwiches, with candy sweet grapes, luscious figs and a fresh lemon mix to drink.

    "(This is) way more than a celebration," she said. "It's the coming together of a movement."  

    And it was exactly that. The get together was an opportunity for Waters to announce that she will be transforming the Chez Panisse Foundation this fall into the Edible Schoolyard Project, which aims to develop a national food curriculum.

    Fiften years ago, Waters and her friends built a one-acre edible schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School. It features an organic garden and kitchen classroom.

    The organization's mission will center around taking that model to the rest of the country where healthy foods can be used as part of the education of America's kids.