Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, which first opened its doors in 1971. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free organic school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003, and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010; and induction into the National Woman’s hall of Fame in 2017. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. Alice was most recently awarded the honor of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” in 2019. Alice is the author of fifteen books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, and, a memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.
The Edible Schoolyard Project
Senior Chef Teacher & Family Engagement Manager
At the age of seven, I immigrated to the United States from Mexico. I moved to a farm in Sonoma County, and realized the new environment wasn’t so different from my old home in Jalostoticlan, Jalisco. My parents still planted, grew, and harvested the familiar foods from my homeland; from cactus, chili peppers and aloe to corn and tomatoes.
As a cook, I am self-taught and learned traditional Mexican cooking from my mother. I learned how to plan and prepare meals from fresh, humble ingredients, and to make use of everything in order to maximize flavor and minimize waste. I am a mother of three and come from a large family where cooking is shared and enjoyed by all ages. Within the past 12 years, working with The Edible Schoolyard Project, I have seen many different age groups, races, and backgrounds collaborate and have learned that teaching and learning in the kitchen is intertwined with all aspects of life.
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