Tag Archives: Alice Waters
On Monday this week, Chez Panisse re-opened to the public after an early-morning fire in March shut the landmark restaurant down for nearly four months. On that day, we published an interview with owner Alice Waters who spoke about the process of rebuilding, and how her team turned a crisis into an opportunity to do a little re-inventing. Waters also said she had thought of moving the restaurant to a totally different location on more than one occasion.
Much to the relief of many Berkeleyans, Chez Panisse has stayed put. Today we bring you photographs of the results of all the careful restoration and rebuilding work that has gone into bringing the restaurant back to life. … Continue reading »
Alice Waters admits there have been times — many times in fact — when she and her team have considered relocating Chez Panisse.
“We have thought about moving,” she said on Thursday last week, as, all around her, cooks and carpenters, contractors and chefs made final preparations for two sold-out fundraising dinners that were to take place at Chez Panisse the next day. The iconic restaurant, which re-opens to the public today after being closed for reconstruction following a serious fire in March, is in a building that was originally designed as a home and, with its various nooks and crannies and rabbit-warren-like layout, is hardly conducive to housing a world-class restaurant.
On every significant Chez Panisse anniversary, Waters has discussed with her staff whether to move somewhere else, she said.
“We were going to do it when we were 20, then 30, because it can be such a struggle here. We dreamed about having a large space, like they have at Camino,” she said referring to the Oakland restaurant co-owned by Chez Panisse alum Russell Moore, “with a big old fire, a place for teaching and room for interns to gather.” … Continue reading »
Chez Panisse is closed indefinitely after careful scrutiny of the damage caused to the famous restaurant by an early-morning fire on March 8 revealed that it needs significant demolition and reconstruction work that will take longer than originally anticipated.
The restaurant is canceling all reservations and not taking new ones at this point.
Both the top and bottom porches on the front of the building at 1517 Shattuck Ave. need to be removed and rebuilt, and structural repairs will affect both the upstairs café and downstairs restaurant, according to Chez Panisse’s owner Alice Waters, who posted a letter on the restaurant’s website. … Continue reading »
Five days after iconic Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse was struck by an early-morning fire, crews of experts are working at the restaurant to clean up and rebuild the damaged front section, which includes a much-loved dining alcove.
The Alice Waters-owned restaurant, which has not taken any new reservations since the fire, is hoping work will be completed in time to re-open on April 1, which happens to be the Chez Panisse Café’s 33rd birthday. But the restaurant does not want to set up false expectations about a date, a spokesperson said, as there are still so many unknowns. “We will have more certainty by the end of the week,” a staffer said. … Continue reading »
[Update, 2:45 p.m.: Read a statement from Chez Panisse owner Alice Waters at the foot of this story.]
A fire that broke out at around 3 a.m. this morning damaged a front part of Chez Panisse restaurant at 1517 Shattuck Ave. Nobody was injured in the blaze and sprinklers in the building prevented significant destruction.
The restaurant’s owner, Alice Waters, was said to be very upset and visibly shocked when she arrived at the scene at around 6 a.m. Berkeley Fire Department Interim Deputy Chief Avery Webb said a passer-by called in the fire at 3:04 a.m. The cause was most likely an electrical issue, he said. … Continue reading »
It was the 40th anniversary of the founding of his famous wine store, the sun was shining, the band was playing, the wine was flowing and Kermit Lynch was all smiles.
“Long live wine!” Lynch shouted into a microphone to the hundreds of people who had gathered in the parking lot of his store at San Pablo and Cedar to celebrate the anniversary. “Let’s get on with this great party! Let’s have some fun!”
The crowd didn’t need much encouragement. With sausages and frittata prepared by chef Christopher Lee, ice cream by Ici, and a parade of dishes by the newly opened Bartavelle café (occupying spot where the revered Café Fanny once stood) there was plenty to sample.
But, as in all things in Lynch’s life, the centerpiece of the day was wine. Known for elevating the status of wine made from small French and Italian wineries (sourced from his many trips hitting the back roads to find unheralded producers) Lynch chose seven wines for the day’s celebrations that both reflected his store’s past and its future. … Continue reading »
Veteran writer and editor Katrina Heron — who has done stints at The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, and Wired — was recently named the new director of The Edible Schoolyard Project, the nonprofit started by school food champion Alice Waters which seeks to promote edible education and reform the National School Lunch program.
While taking the reins at the school cooking, gardening, and lunch advocacy organization is a departure from Heron’s journalism career, she has long been associated with the group and reported on a range of food matters for high-profile outlets.
Heron began working with ESYP (then the Chez Panisse Foundation) 11 years ago as a volunteer, joined the board of directors in 2003 and served until 2010.
“When I learned, on quite short notice, that the director role was open, it just seemed like the right time to assume a more active role in advocating for edible education,” said Heron, who follows in the footsteps of several short-lived leaders of the institution, most recently Quinn Fitzgerald, Francesca Vietor, and Brian Byrnes. Prior to that, the post was held by Carina Wong, who departed to work for the Gates Foundation in Seattle. … Continue reading »
He’s run a pizza joint in Montana and a Japanese restaurant in New Mexico, but Berkeley-bred Christian Geideman has perhaps earned the highest marks for coming home and opening a stylish izakaya restaurant, Ippuku, in downtown Berkeley.
Izakaya is Japan’s answer to the tapas bar or gastropub: a casual joint to go after work for strong drinks, small plates, and a chance to unwind with friends.
Ippuku opened two years ago on a strip that typically serves the student set and it’s been widely praised since then. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Michael Bauer heaped compliments on the place. Alice Waters is a regular and calls Ippuku one of her favorite spots to dine in town. And local chefs laud the restaurant for its drink list, including shochu (a distilled spirit typically made from barley, sweet potato, rice or black sugar) and craft beers on tap, as well as its authentic, Japanese fare. The restaurant showcases yakitori, or grilled skewers of just about any cut of meat from chicken, including neck, heart, liver, knee cartilage, shoulder blade, tail, gizzards, and skin.
Clearly, Geideman takes the trend of whole-beast cooking to heart. The dish that’s garnered most attention on the menu is chicken tartare. That’s raw chicken, topped with daikon sprouts, Korean chili paste, and a raw egg to the uninitiated — what Bauer described as “a double dose of culinary danger.” … Continue reading »
If it’s true that “Garlic is as good as ten mothers,” the title of Les Blank’s 1980 film, my question is: why anyone would want ten mothers? For most people I know, and speaking for myself, one good mother was plenty. Evidently this is not the case with garlic, about which, for its fanatical fans, there is no such thing as too much.
So when Blank’s cinematic homage to never-enough-garlic was screened on a recent Sunday at the Pacific Film Archive as part of a Les Blank retrospective, aging but loyal garlic-heads, including yours truly, showed up to marinate, yet again, in the stinking rose’s aromatic magic.
When my Book of Garlic was published in 1974 under the nom de plume Lloyd J. Harris, it luckily caught Les Blank’s eye (and nostrils). The book, which had been inspired by my brief stint as a waiter at Chez Panisse during its first hectic days in 1971, proclaimed a garlic revolution in America and popularized the ancient Roman word for garlic, “stinking rose.” … Continue reading »
Tonight marks the return of Edible Education at Cal, with solo instructor Michael Pollan kicking off the 16-week course. The class is open to both undergraduate and graduate students — and, like last year, some 300 free seats are reserved for the public. (See details below for nabbing a ticket to these popular sessions, which typically fill to capacity each week.)
The Graduate School of Journalism professor, and guest speakers from the food and farming world, will examine the future of farming and food and explore how the U.S.’s industrialized food system impacts the environment, health, farm and food workers, as well as the culture at large.
“Food politics are in the forefront of students’ minds these days,” said Pollan, known to tackle wonky food subjects in compelling prose in bestselling books such as “In Defense of Food.” “They like hearing from non-academics — activists, farmers, and journalists.” … Continue reading »
In the last year, Chez Panisse chefs, staff, and alum have embarked on gourmet global diplomacy trips to Japan (in an informal expedition under the auspices of a group known as OPENrestaurant) and China (in a formal affair the restaurant’s owner, Alice Waters, presided over herself.) Now comes word that a contingent from the acclaimed restaurant are headed to Cuba to plant seeds of change on the food and farming front — and learn a thing or two about Cuban cuisine and growing greens from this Carribbean island country.
What’s more the trip, scheduled for December 4-12, coincides with the Havana Film Festival, and is open to the public. The delegation includes Chez Panisse downstairs chef Jerome Waag, former Chez Panisse pizzaiolo Charlie Hallowell, Steve Sullivan from Acme Bread (a former Chez Panisse chef), and Cuban-American line cook Danielle Alvarez, who will set foot on Cuban soil for the first time. … Continue reading »
The meeting was held in San Francisco earlier this week at the offices of SPUR, a nonprofit created to promote good planning and good government. The focus of the discussion: an ambitious plan to overhaul Oakland Unified School District‘s inadequate and antiquated school food service. But the driving force behind what could be a model program for re-imagining school lunch in large school districts around the nation is a Berkeley-based nonprofit that has quietly been rethinking school lunch for many years.
No, not that nonprofit. The Center for Ecoliteracy recently released a detailed feasibility study that, if implemented, would amount to a massive makeover for the OUSD school food program. It includes recommendations for a newly outfitted, green central commissary with a 1.5-acre edible farm in West Oakland, refurbished existing kitchens, and the development of 14 school-based community kitchens dotted throughout the school district, which serves 38,000 students at 101 schools, 70% of whom are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. The community kitchens are envisaged as places where budding edible entrepreneurs and local organizations with a food focus could work, for a fee, during after-school hours. … Continue reading »
Suzanne Drexhage is living proof of the adage that things come to those who wait.
Drexhage, who has worked at Berkeley wine purveyor Kermit Lynch for a dozen years, hosted her own pop-up restaurant events, served at Chez Panisse, and cooked with some of the most creative folks on the Berkeley food scene, has been scouting around for several years for a space to open her own place.
So, when Café Fanny closed in March after 28 years of serving frothy cappuccinos, poached eggs, and Acme toast, Drexhage was delighted to get the go-ahead to open Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar, a café-wine bar with a modern vibe and a European feel, in the slip of a space formerly co-owned by Alice Waters and Jim Maser of Picante. … Continue reading »