Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution

Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution

by Thomas McNamee
     
 

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The first authorized biography of "the mother of American cooking" (The New York Times)

This adventurous book charts the origins of the local "market cooking" culture that we all savor today. When Francophile Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971, few Americans were familiar with goat cheese, cappuccino, or mesclun. But it wasn't long

Overview

The first authorized biography of "the mother of American cooking" (The New York Times)

This adventurous book charts the origins of the local "market cooking" culture that we all savor today. When Francophile Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971, few Americans were familiar with goat cheese, cappuccino, or mesclun. But it wasn't long before Waters and her motley coterie of dreamers inspired a new culinary standard incorporating ethics, politics, and the conviction that the best-grown food is also the tastiest. Based on unprecedented access to Waters and her inner circle, this is a truly delicious rags-to-riches saga.

Editorial Reviews

Bibliophiles have books about books; gourmets have books about cooks. Thomas McNamee's richly anecdotal Alice Waters and Chez Panisse re-creates the unlikely story of a Chatham, New Jersey, girl who made good. A 1965 summer trip to Brittany converted this transplanted Californian into a zealous believer in French cuisine and the possibilities of fresh local ingredients. Waters's Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley was not only successful; it generated a food revolution and the rise of California cuisine. McNamee leavens his appreciation of Waters with a keen sense of how circumstances and even accidents helped facilitate this major change in American eating habits. Delicious dish; delightful read.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781594201158
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/22/2007
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Charming. . . . What [McNamee] does beautifully is capture the spirit of the restaurant and its spiritual growth, as well as its place in American culture."
-Los Angeles Times

"McNamee, an erudite journalist, essayist, poet, and literary critic, paints a particularly vivid picture of this enfant terrible of the kitchen."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"A wonderfully entertaining, gossipy glimpse inside a kitchen that continues to surprise and delight."
-The Seattle Times

"A rounded and convincing portrait of a controversial figure in American cooking."
-Saveur

"Careering, chaotic, and ultimately inspiring . . . McNamee's clear-eyed assessment avoids the usual platitudes about California cuisine and shows how one individual with an understanding of food can carve out a personal identity and at the same time make culinary history."
-The New York Times Book Review

Meet the Author

Thomas McNamee's work has appeared in Audubon, The New Yorker, Life, Natural History, High Country News, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Saveur, and a number of literary journals.

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