Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness

Overview


In this authoritative and immensely readable insider’s account, celebrated cookbook author and former chef Joyce Goldstein traces the development of California cuisine from its formative years in the 1970s to 2000, when farm-to-table, foraging, and fusion cooking had become part of the national vocabulary. Interviews with almost two hundred chefs, purveyors, artisans, winemakers, and food writers bring to life an approach to cooking grounded in passion, bold innovation, and a dedication to “flavor first.” ...
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Inside the California Food Revolution: Thirty Years That Changed Our Culinary Consciousness

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Overview


In this authoritative and immensely readable insider’s account, celebrated cookbook author and former chef Joyce Goldstein traces the development of California cuisine from its formative years in the 1970s to 2000, when farm-to-table, foraging, and fusion cooking had become part of the national vocabulary. Interviews with almost two hundred chefs, purveyors, artisans, winemakers, and food writers bring to life an approach to cooking grounded in passion, bold innovation, and a dedication to “flavor first.” Goldstein explains how the counterculture movement in the West gave rise to a restaurant culture characterized by open kitchens, women in leadership positions, and a surprising number of chefs and artisanal food producers who lacked formal training. The new cuisine challenged the conventional kitchen hierarchy and French dominance in fine dining, leading to a more egalitarian and informal food scene.

In weaving Goldstein’s views on California food culture with profiles of those who played a part in its development—from Alice Waters to Bill Niman to Wolfgang Puck—Inside the California Food Revolution demonstrates that, while fresh produce and locally sourced ingredients are iconic in California, what transforms these elements into a unique cuisine is a distinctly Western culture of openness, creativity, and collaboration. Engagingly written and full of captivating anecdotes, this book shows how the inspirations that emerged in California went on to transform the experience of eating throughout the United States and the world.
 

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Editorial Reviews

C Magazine

"When the time came for a definitive record of California cooking, UC Press knew the exact person to pen it. After almost 200 interviews with chefs, critics, food artisans, iconoclast winemakers and restauranteurs, the doyenne has tracked a 30-year shift in design, casualization and style."
San Francisco Chronicle - Miriam Morgan

"A book for anyone who loves to eat and who wants to understand why eating has gotten so delicious."
Super Chef Blog

"As a chef and writer, Joyce brings an insider’s eye to chronicling the shift to local, foraged, farm-to-table, and fusion cooking. If you want to fill in what you missed and where Californian cuisine is heading next, read about it."
Los Angeles Times Daily Dish

"A lot of interesting anecdotes. . . . Indeed, for anyone who wonders what those wild early days were all about, 'Inside the California Food Revolution' will be a valuable resource."
Restaurant Hospitality

"Insightful and compelling . . . . As engaging as it is educational."
Mariani's Virtual Gourmet Newsletter

"Lively history told by someone who was part of it always makes for the most engaging books, and award-winning restaurateur and author Joyce Goldstein certainly qualifies as one in the vanguard of a culinary revolution no one saw coming in America--and certainly not in California--that transformed the way Americans eat."
CHOICE Magazine - DM Gilbert

"...This volume is highly readable and a valuable introductions to an event that has changed American views about food and eating."
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-01
Restaurateur and cookbook author Goldstein (Tapas, 2009, etc.) interviews pioneers of California cuisine, paying tribute to their roles in shaping how the world has come to regard dining out. Fresh, seasonal, sometimes organic, artisanal, or locally sourced, often drawing from several cultures, even political--from 1970 to 2000, "California cuisine" inspired ideas now taken for granted at the table. Not without its detractors, who considered the cuisine elitist, the media-driven label was initially avoided by several chefs. Goldstein proposes that California cuisine flourished due to the state's climate and environment, which allowed for varied produce, coupled with an entrepreneurial spirit that hoped to depart from the traditional, Euro-centric fare of the times. Borrowing from the lightness of nouvelle cuisine and the innovation of fusion cooking, the cuisine's early days presented then-unusual alternatives, with occasional missteps, as well as now-famous signature dishes. Changing perceptions of food led to the rise of such significant figures as Wolfgang Puck, Jeremiah Tower and Alice Waters. Thoughtfully woven related themes include sustainable agriculture; differences between Northern and Southern California kitchens, from guiding principles to plating styles; perspectives among self-taught and professional chefs; increasing acceptance of ethnic dishes; the popularization of open kitchen designs, and more. While several interview highlights detail the beginnings of particular restaurants, with frequent mentions of Spago and Chez Panisse, the most perceptive accounts consider broader philosophies on everything from dining habits to ingredients. For the most dedicated food historians, the narrative reveals a period rife with invention. Facsimiles of menus provide glimpses at past trends and staples. Goldstein convincingly presents a case for California cuisine as a vital force in strengthening connections among food, chefs and diners in ways that have transcended region.
Library Journal
The now mainstream preference for fresh, seasonal, local foods has its roots in the development of California cuisine. In this thorough account, chef, restaurateur, and food writer Goldstein, the winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in California and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, chronicles this revolution and its pioneers. In the 1970s, a handful of passionate, innovative cooks and food producers began adopting a new approach to food. The result, later known as California cuisine, not only affected food but also agriculture, the wine industry, service, and restaurant design. Chefs sought out fresh, seasonable, and sustainable ingredients, while conventional cooking equipment and kitchen setups started to change, as chefs favored the open kitchen and tools such as wood-burning ovens. The conventional hierarchical kitchen brigade was abandoned for a more collaborative model, and women began breaking into male-dominated kitchens. Many may be familiar with Alice Waters and her legendary restaurant, Chez Panisse, but Goldstein and coauthor Brown (principal editor, Univ. of California Press) introduce readers to almost 200 other chefs, artisans, and farmers who have been a part of this movement. VERDICT An engaging history of a culinary revolution that has had enormous influence over the entire country.—Melissa Stoeger, Deerfield P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520268197
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/6/2013
  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture , #44
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 435,084
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author


Joyce Goldstein was chef and owner of the groundbreaking restaurant Square One in San Francisco. She received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in California and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She is the author of twenty-six cookbooks, and her writing appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sommelier Journal, Fine Cooking, and many other publications.

Dore Brown is Principal Editor at University of California Press.

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Table of Contents


Preface

Introduction
1. Thirty Years of Food Revolution: A Historical Overview
2. One Revolution, Two Ways: Northern versus Southern California
3. Defying Kitchen Convention: Self-Taught Chefs and Iconoclasts
4. Women Chefs and Innovation: The New Collaborative Kitchen
5. New Flavors: Upscale Ethnic, Eclectic, and Fusion Food
6. New Menus: The Daily Menu and the Story behind the Food
7. Restaurants Reimagined: Transformations in the Kitchen and Dining Room
8. A New World of Fresh Produce: Reviving the Farm-to-Table Connection
9. Custom Foods: Chefs Partner with Purveyors and Artisans
10. Merging the Worlds of Wine and Food: Common Cause
Afterword: The Continuing Evolution of California Cuisine

Acknowledgments
Sources
Index

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