When Alice Waters opened her restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley in 1971, she did not intend to start a food revolution. She simply wanted to provide a place where people could gather, eat great-tasting food, and have fun. Her passion for fresh, locally grown ingredients originated with her market experiences in France and gastronomic meals in French restaurants in the 1960s. Not wanting to compromise on the quality of ingredients at Chez Panisse led her to seek out farmers who would grow the things she wanted to serve. Over the years, she attracted creative chefs to the restaurant, each of whom brought something unique to the menu.
Author Thomas McNamee had access to Waters and her friends and has created a lively picture of the restaurant's ups and downs and the personal relationships of those who work there. Organized chronologically, with chapters featuring special events and people, the story moves swiftly and smoothly, a reflection of Alice's dream from its early days to the present.
Reviewed by mc, 7/07. Other reviews by mc.