Alice Waters: Sticking to slow food in tough times - Olivia Stren

Alice Waters: Sticking to slow food in tough times

Globe and Mail

Sticking to slow food in tough times


The mother of the slow-food movement is in a rush. She only has 30 minutes to talk, her assistant informs me, as he escorts me to her luminous office located next to Chez Panisse, her restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. The building, splashed in honeyed afternoon sunshine, has all the rustic coziness of a farmhouse, and you feel about as likely to bump into a piglet as you do a fax machine. Alice Waters, however, doesn't radiate the same warm, tactile intimacy of the setting; she means business and brushes away all casual hello-how-are-you niceties the way she would chuck McDonald's off her dinner plate. Neither does her manner match the delicacy of her physique (she is petite, has finely drawn features and is dressed in earth-mother shades of pebble grey). For someone who has passionately devoted the past 40-odd years of her life to the pursuit of sensuous enjoyment, Ms. Waters emanates a surprisingly frosty aura.


Both a fountainhead of the eat-local movement and a pioneer of California cuisine, Ms. Waters is among the most famous restaurateurs in North America. She opened Chez Panisse in the summer of 1971 in a BC (Before Croissant) America. On the restaurant's inaugural night, she served p

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Olivia Stren

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