Curiosity Expert: Alice Waters
Owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project
Alice Waters, chef, author, and the proprietor of Chez Panisse, is an American pioneer of a culinary philosophy that maintains that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is "good, clean, and fair." Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients.
In 1996, Waters' commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley's Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School: a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an "eco-gastronomic" curriculum. By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instills the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future. The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower young people. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all public schools in the United States.
Waters is Vice President of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has 100,000 members in over 130 countries. She is the author of eight books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.
Alice Waters' honors and affiliations include:
- Inductee, California Hall of Fame, 2008
- Co-recipient, with Kofi Annan, Global Environmental Citizen Award, 2008
- Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2007
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Restaurant magazine's "World's 50 Best Restaurants", 2007
- Founder, Sustainable Food Program at the American Academy in Rome, 2006
- Force for Nature Award, Natural Resources Defense Council, 2004
- Best Restaurant in America, Gourmet magazine, 2001
- Founder, Yale Sustainable Food Project, Berkeley College, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 2003
- Vice President, Slow Food International, Bra, Italy, 2003