These days I hear a lot more about all these things (especially on environment-friendly Vancouver Island), and I’m learning more all the time. I just finished reading the new biography, Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, by Thomas McNamee, which is subtitled “The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution.” What an interesting story! If you haven’t heard of it, Chez Panisse is a restaurant in Berkeley, California that has done things its own way (local, fresh, organic as possible) since it opened in 1971. They just wanted to be a place where people could be with each other over great food, and it sounds like they have certainly succeeded. Alice and Chez Panisse have inspired at least one person that I know; no doubt they have changed the lives of countless others.
I found the book a fast read, as the story clicks along with twists and turns here and there. How does a woman get to be a cultural icon? This story shows you the way. In 1971, Alice Waters was a 20-something francophile with a dream (but barely two nickels to rub together). These days, anyone that knows anything about the food industry knows her name.
I was inspired before reading this book to continue eating local and organic food, and now I’m even more so. Remember that list of 100 goals that I had? I’ve just added another thing to it. You guessed it … eat at Chez Panisse.