When Alice Waters opened the doors of Chez Panisse, her “little French restaurant” in Berkeley, California, in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape—Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers.
In her new memoir, Coming to My Senses (Clarkson Potter), Waters retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the free speech movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the philosophy that inspired Chez Panisse, a pioneer in its emphasis on using organically grown, locally sourced food.
In conversation with Joe Yonan, food and dining editor for the Washington Post, Waters shares stories and recipes, and discusses her evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.
A copy of Coming to My Senses is included in the ticket price and is available for signing.
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