Alice Waters is an American chef, author, food advocate and proprietor of Chez Panisse. She is vice president of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has 100,000 members in over 130 countries. Waters is also the author of eight books, including The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution.
Over the course of nearly forty years, Chez Panisse has helped create a community of scores of local farmers and ranchers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of fresh and pure ingredients. It is guided by Waters’ culinary philosophy, maintaining that cooking should be based on the finest and freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally. She is a passionate advocate for a food economy that is ‘good, clean, and fair’.
In 1996, Waters’s commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Middle School: a one-acre garden, an adjacent kitchen-classroom, and an ‘eco-gastronomic’ curriculum. By actively involving a thousand students in all aspects of the food cycle, The Edible Schoolyard is a model public education program that instils the knowledge and values we need to build a humane and sustainable future.
The program is nationally recognized for its efforts to integrate gardening, cooking, and sharing school lunch into the core academic curriculum. Alice established the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996 to support the Schoolyard and encourage similar programs that use food traditions to teach, nurture, and empower young people. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, whose national agenda integrates a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all public schools in the United States.