Tag Archives: Chez Panisse

Ex-Chez Panisse pastry chef is back as chocolatier

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When the buyer at San Francisco’s artisanal mecca Bi-Rite Market proclaims a certain brand of chocolates to be “exquisite– quite simply, the best I’ve ever tasted,” it would be wise to pay attention.

The chocolates in question are made by Alexandra Whisnant, under the name gâté comme des filles chocolats (a French line that loosely translates as Spoiled Like the Girls Chocolates). So far, they are sold at The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley (made with their own signature bacon) and through online food delivery service Good Eggs.

Whisnant, a chocolatier by trade, has just relocated gâté comme des filles from Paris to the Bay Area. … Continue reading »

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From a Berkeley garden to top local restaurants

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When Pauline’s Pizza opened in San Francisco in 1985, owner Sidney Weinstein says small organic farms up and down California were “in their hey day.”

As bigger names came in and started to buy up independent farms, she said, the best produce became harder and harder to find. So Weinstein started to grow more of the restaurant’s produce herself, all in the backyard of her Berkeley home — eventually supplying other Bay Area restaurants, too, with her hyper-local harvest.

Today, Weinstein’s production has grown tremendously. And even as she and her husband oversee a multi-acre ranch in the Sierra foothills of Calaveras County, they are still growing a number of staples among the winding paths of their Berkeley garden. … Continue reading »

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It’s back! Inside the newly re-opened Chez Panisse

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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 »

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Waters: Response to fire is why I live in Berkeley

Alice Waters, Chez Panisse, June 20, 2013. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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 »

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Bites: What’s new in East Bay food, XXIII

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Openings…

A16 ROCKRIDGE All things going well, A16 Rockridge, the sister restaurant to A16 in San Francisco, will open May 30 in the old Hudson/Garibaldi space at 5356 College Ave. This is the third restauraunt for co-owners Victoria Libin and Shelley Lindgren (also the wine director), who, along with A16 in the Marina, run Michelin-starred SPQR in the Fillmore district. Chef Rocky Maselli, formerly chef-owner of Osteria Sfizo, a modern Italian restaurant in Eugene, Ore., is running the kitchen. Expect his dishes to be influenced by the cuisine of the coastal regions surrounding Italy’s A16 highway. (On the opening menu: selection of crudo, including Somerset oysters and Fort Bragg sea urchin; roasted calamari with lovage salsa verde, lemon and fried corona beans; Montanara Rockridge pizza with lightly fried dough, smoky tomato sauce, burrata and basil; salsiccia e vongole; crispy fried lamb sweetbreads with peas and marsala, and pork polpettone with egg, spring onion, and roasted baby carrots.) In preparation for his new role, Maselli recently went to Naples to earn his pizzaiolo certification, and travelled along the A16 highway researching recipes. Drinks will focus on Southern Italian wines and Italian-inspired cocktails. Think “rustic charm” for the décor which was designed in collaboration with Cass Calder Smith of CCS Architecture. A16 will also offer that rare thing for the East Bay: late-night dining. For details, follow A16 Rockridge on Facebook, or at on Twitter at @A16Rockridge. … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse sets new opening date after fire

Chez Panisse 04.30.13 by Emilie Raguso
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Chez Panisse said it is planning to reopen on Monday June 10, three months after a fire damaged the front section of the famous restaurant in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto.

Cristina Mueller, who works in owner Alice Waters’ office, said the restaurant is in the throes of rebuilding work. The restaurant is not taking reservations yet, but will let customers know via its website when it is begins to do so. Both the café and the restaurant will reopen at the same time.

Mueller said a crane had earlier today lowered a large steel frame into the restaurant for structural support, and that a new foundation was poured last week for the portion of the restaurant that was damaged by the fire, believed to have been sparked by an electrical fault. … Continue reading »

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Chez Panisse closed indefinitely, major rebuild needed

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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 »

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Chez Panisse rebuilds, focuses on re-opening soon

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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 »

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Early morning fire closes Chez Panisse

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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 »

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Fire at Chez Panisse damages front of restaurant

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[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 »

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Nosh Talk: Suzanne Drexhage, Bartavelle

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Nosh Talk is a regular Q&A with an East Bay chef, restaurateur or food artisan, published on Berkeleyside Nosh, in which we snoop for inside intelligence…

What is always in your refrigerator?
Preserved lemons, butter, and for some reason, Prosecco. And chicken stock and last summer’s slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Just in case.

What do you cook up for a late night snack?
I don’t usually snack late, but we occasionally eat a pretty late dinner after Stan gets home from work, maybe cooked greens with pasta or eggs, or leftover soft tofu soup. [Stan is Stanislaw Sobolewski, cookbook manager at Moe’s Books.]

Where/what do you eat on your day off? 
So many good places to check out lately, it’s hard to decide, but I love Fusebox in West Oakland, the new Ramen Shop on College Ave., Ippuku in Berkeley, and Duende in downtown Oakland.

Do you have a secret ‘junk food’ vice?
I don’t eat junk food. Street food, sure. Taco trucks, yes! … Continue reading »

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Bites: What’s new, what’s hot, what’s happening, VI

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Freshly served…

DUENDE Definitely one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, Duende is officially open for business. Former Oliveto chef Paul Canales is serving regional Spanish cuisine in downtown Oakland, next door to Flora. Eater got a peek at the adjoining bodega with the Spanish wine and sherry expert, Gerard Maristany. There will be Verve Coffee available in the mornings and imported olive oil, along with wine organized by country. Bottles from the bodega can be opened in the restaurant with a $12 corkage fee. Domestic wines, beers and a full bar will be available in the restaurant side of Duende. Duende, 468 19th St., Oakland; 510-893-0174. Bodega: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Restaurant and bar: Sunday to Monday and Wednesday to Thursday, 5:30-10 p.m., Friday to Saturday, 5:30-11 p.m.

CAFFE VENEZIA Caffe Venezia, on University Avenue at Grant Street, will close before this summer after 33 years of operation in Berkeley. Owners Jeff Wizig and Roger Feuer are retiring and selling the business, the restaurant’s manager said. A new owner plans to open a restaurant in the space eventually, but the lid is on precisely what it will be. Caffe Venezia, with its charming Venice street scene interior décor — fountains, balconies and washing lines included — has been a much-loved fixture on the local dining scene for generations of Berkeley families. Caffe Venezia’s founder, John Solomon, was the inspiration behind the “How Berkeley Can You Be Parade” that marched along University once a year for 13 years, until it was canceled in 2009. Berkeleyside Nosh will have a fuller report looking at the history of the restaurant and its place in city life soon. [Hat-tip: James Carr] … Continue reading »

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Plans to put a beehive in every Berkeley middle school

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A new initiative, spearheaded by Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard Project, aims to put beehives in the city’s three middle schools by next spring.

King Middle School’s one-acre garden, home to the Edible Schoolyard, has already jumped in having acquired a hive of Russian bees six weeks ago, under a program the organizers named Bee Experimental Education in Schools (BEES).

The idea, said Edible Schoolyard Director Kyle Cornforth, is to extend King’s existing hands-on gardening and cooking education to include learning about pollination. … Continue reading »

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