Aug 28: The Power of Gathering

Alice Waters celebrates the 40th-anniversary of her landmark Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.


How long has Alice Waters been thinking about the 40th-anniversary celebration for her landmark Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse? “Since the 30th,” says the nation’s unofficial foodie godmother of her latest milestone, which officially kicks off with the publication of a new book about its storied run. Composed of archival photographs and written recollections from the generations of Chez Panisse chefs, farmers, purveyors, and friends who have contributed to its success, The Power of Gathering tells the tale of “Alice’s restaurant,” which launched California cuisine, inspired the ongoing farmers’ market movement, and defined the local-seasonal-organic ethos that young chefs now take for granted. For the big night itself, August 28, Waters has planned a series of dinners around Berkeley and San Francisco, all hosted or prepared by Chez Panisse alumni—and one by Waters herself­. The soirées are also fundraisers for the Edible Schoolyard, Waters’s national model for serving locally grown school lunches. What she isn’t planning, despite this age of celebrity chef–owned franchises, is Chez Panisse 2. “Are you kidding?” she says. “My not-so-secret work is to encourage people to open restaurants I’d like to eat in.”

Photo: Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis