A crew on location in Berkeley to film arguably the city’s most famous current resident wrapped up Wednesday, but not before prompting many neighbors to ask what the big trucks and tents outside her North Berkeley home were doing there.
Alice Waters was being filmed for an episode of Masterclass, an online video instruction series in which writers, actors and chefs provide tutorials in their area of expertise. Other famous names to have recorded classes include Steph Curry, Dustin Hoffman, Werner Herzog and David Mamet. Waters, who in the 10-episode series will be teaching how to “cook beautiful, seasonal meals at home,” joins other celebrated chefs who have recorded classes, including Wolfgang Puck and Thomas Keller. The Waters tutorial is due to be released next year, according to Hannah Love who works in Alice Waters’s office.
Love confirmed that filming took place this week and locations included the chef’s home, the Edible Schoolyard at King Middle School, which Waters founded, as well as her famous Shattuck Avenue restaurant, Chez Panisse. The teaser video for the Masterclass also shows Waters harvesting produce from her garden and shopping at a farmers market.
It’s not the first time Waters, who pioneered the farm-to-table movement, has appeared in the movies. She starred in a 2003 PBS American Master film titled Alice Waters and her Delicious Revolution, and appeared alongside fellow Berkeleyan Michael Pollan in the documentary Food Fight (2008), a look at “how American agricultural policy and food culture developed in the 20th century, and how the California food movement rebelled against big agribusiness to launch the local organic food movement.”
She also played the role of “assistant cook” in a quirky 1980 film that told the tale of a bet by filmmaker Herzog and Errol Morris that Morris would never finish his first movie. Herzog promised to eat his shoe if he lost. For the premiere of Gates of Heaven in 1980, Alice Waters cooked Herzog’s shoe with garlic, herbs and duck fat for five hours. Herzog ate his shoe in front of an audience at the UC Theater, an event documented by Les Blank in the documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe.
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