40 Years with Chez Panisse

 Flowers by Susie Ho of Mend Etc.

My how time flies. Just yesterday I was having my first meal at Chez Panisse in Berkeley California with my mother. Mom was always in the know about everything having to do with food, art, gardening and design. I was probably about 22 at the time, just having graduated from college and living in the Bay Area. Mom had come to visit and took me to Berkeley for dinner. I was wrapped up with a new job at the time. Ironically, I was working for the head of the business department of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, marketing food related products for the gourmet food industry, but I had never heard of Alice Waters or Chez Panisse. I had graduated with a Business Degree after all....not food. Mom rightly felt it was time for my education in the world of food. I think it was about the same time she gave me a subscription to Gourmet magazine ( I am not sure if it was at the same time that Ruth Reichle was the editor or not, but she and Alice Waters were quite good friends.)

My mother was a avid reader of anything M.F.K. Fisher. We had grown up in the same area as Fisher, and Mom was fascinated with everything she had written. Mom was following the rise in popularity of good food raised locally and was by then very familiar with Alice Waters and many of her apostles. I have since read many of M.F.K. Fisher books, own many of Alice Water's Chez Panisse cookbooks, and have read Ruth Reichle's books, Tender is the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples. My education in food had been launched.

Those days are long gone......it all happened before my education in design even began....almost 30 years ago now. (Geez....dating myself here!) It is so wonderful to see that Alice Waters had it right then, and still does. Food is better, so much more delicious, when picked right before eating....which means local is better. Better tasting, better for you, better for the environment, and better for local economies.

 Alice Waters and the Levi's brand have partnered to celebrate this 40 year anniversary of the "Delicious Revolution", and I was lucky to receive photos of a beautiful event that took place on Wednesday, August 24th. The event was put on at San Francisco's Maiden Lane and featured organic, locally sourced box lunches that looked mouth wateringly delicious! Beautiful wildflower displays were put together by Susie Ho of Mend Etc. (Check out her website! Lovely interiors!)

Alice Water and Robert Hanson, Levi's Brand Global President wearing their T-Shirts
 T-shirts were designed in limited edition by Alice Waters and other creatives such as David Bryne, Sofia Coppola, Dave Eggers and Maira Kalman. Proceeds from the sale of these T-Shirts support the Edible Schoolyard Project, a national organization dedicated to bringing garden and kitchen education into grade school curriculum. Check the T-Shirts out HERE on the Levi's website!

There was also a book signing for Alice Water's new book, 40 Years of Chez Panisse, The Power of Gathering. Another "must have" for my culinary library!

Well......I did not get to attend this luscious event myself, but I was there in spirit. We had out own little "Ode to Alice" dinner with almost every ingredient found locally:

We started with an Arugula, Pear, and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad with Pine Nuts.... Local Olive Oil and Red Wine Vinegar Dressing with Dill from the garden.....

BBQ Spare Ribs rubbed with BBQ spice blend from my good friend Diane's Heart Rock Herb and Spice Blend Co. and Corn Succotash made with tomatoes from our garden, green onions and red peppers.....

.....And my youngest daughter is following in her big sister's footsteps and becoming quite a baker. She made orange cupcakes with orange zest butter cream frosting, orange sugar sprinkles and orange peel "twists" on top.

I am counting the hours until my next trip to the Farmer's Market!

OH! One last note.....One Kings Lane is having a sale on everything ALICE.... which also includes signed copies of Alice's new book. Hop on over HERE to see what you can buy from Alice's Pantry!

Wishing you all a Delicious Weekend!!