Alice Waters's Headshot

Alice Waters

Legendary and Revolutionary Chef - Panelist Blurb

One of America's most influential chefs, Alice Waters started a revolution in 1971 when she introduced local, organic fare at her Berkeley, California restaurant, Chez Panisse. Credited with creating "California Cuisine" and changing the food landscape in the US, Waters has championed sustainable farms and ranches for more than 3 decades and advocates eating only locally grown, organic, humanely raised foods in season.

She has brought her vision to public schools through the Chez Panisse Foundation, which operates The Edible Schoolyard at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, where students plant, harvest and prepare fresh food as part of the curriculum. Her ideas for "edible education" have been introduced into the entire Berkeley school system, and with the current crisis in childhood obesity, have attracted the attention of the national media.

Waters was named one of the 10 best chefs in the world by Cuisine et Vins de France and Chez Panisse was named Best Restaurant in the United States by Gourmet Magazine.

Waters is founder of the Yale Sustainable Food Project and vice president of Slow Food International. She is the author of several cookbooks and has received many awards including: the James Beard Humanitarian Award, Bon Appetit magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award and, along with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the Harvard Medical School's Global Environmental Citizen Award.

After receiving her BA in French Cultural Studies in 1967 from the University of California, Berkeley, she then trained at the Montessori School in London, followed by a year traveling throughout France. In addition to Chez Panisse, she opened a stand-up breakfast and lunch restaurant in 1984 called Café Fanny, named after her year old daughter.

Waters was born in Chatham, NJ. Her interest in the possibilities of fresh local ingredients was inspired by a visit to France in the summer of 1964; she remembers the particular meal... "the chef, a woman, announced the menu: cured ham and melon, trout with almonds, and raspberry tart. The trout had just come from the stream and the raspberries from the garden."

NOTE: Bio is as it appeared in the Forum program from May 14, 2009.