Illustration “Berkeley Cuisine,” by Madeline Rohner (painted for the Berkeley Historical Society, 2020).
Exhibit Intro and Contents

“What Alice Waters and the Chez Panisse team did was probably the most radical gesture in restaurants and cooking in America in the last century. It’s important that it happened in Berkeley.” – Chris Ying

“I came to Cal the same year that Chez Panisse opened. I ate there frequently. I remember when the menu was $4. I went to the midnight steak and red wine feeds.” – Paul Bertolli

“I think if there’s one thing I’m responsible for in this country, something that I can take a little credit for, it’s the propagation of real salad.” – Alice Waters

“[Chez Panisse] has launched countless careers, and working there became a rite of passage for several generations of mostly California-based cooks and chefs.”  – Andrew Friedman

“Over the years there’s no doubt most chefs [at Chez Panisse] have influenced one or another strand of the complex character of the cuisine, but the core, for decades, has developed a lasting strength of its own—largely no doubt because of the steady guiding hand and critical eye and palate of Alice Waters, who is of course the chef.” – Charles Shere

“No food product bearing the ‘Berkeley’ name has entered millions of California homes more than Berkeley Farms dairy products over the past 110 years. Its iconic radio advertising led San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen to state that it was ‘the most successful and longest running advertising slogan in Bay Area history.’” – Gary Sabatte

“Virtually all the ideas that now [1985] permeate quality restaurants in this country come directly from Alice.” – Steve Sullivan

“Chez Panisse has been a culinary think-tank.” – Jim Wood

“What Chez Panisse did . . . not when they first, first opened, but as they found their own identity, was revolutionary because it was a restaurant that wrote menus based on what was available.”  – Colman Andrews

“While the development of a national healthy food system is still out of reach, we in Berkeley and many other places that have learned by our example can also aspire to put forward an alternative.” – Paul Bertolli

“I had a deeply unsettling experience when, after spending a couple of years researching nutrition for my last book, In Defense of Food, I realized that the answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated question of what we should eat wasn’t so complicated after all, and in fact could be boiled down to just seven words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan

“Season food with the proper amount of salt at the proper moment; choose the optimal medium of fat to convey the flavor of your ingredients; balance and animate those ingredients with acid; apply the right type and quantity of heat for the proper amount of time—do all this and you will turn out vibrant and beautiful food, with or without a recipe.” – Samin Nosrat

“Good bread, garlic, olive oil, cheese and red wine provide the center of any decent ordinary cuisine.” – David Lance Goines

“The emphasis on education—teaching people to appreciate the finer things in life, to enjoy the good life—was common to many of the denizens of the Gourmet Ghetto.” – Dave Weinstein

“I’ve always said that Julia Child’s show allowed Chez Panisse to flourish. And that’s the truth—if Julia hadn’t prepared people for French cooking, our little French restaurant never would have worked.” – Alice Waters

“‘California cuisine’—generally agreed to encompass local, fresh, seasonal, and utterly delicious food—has never been only about how it tastes. California cuisine also has been and is about politics, and particularly the politics of inequities in how, where, and by whom food is produced and consumed.” – Marion Nestle

In those days we were reinventing food and food shopping in this country—at a time when there was very little truly high quality prepared food available for purchase. . . . Those were wild wonderful days, usually much too long, not very well organized, and quite hard. But I still remember the thrill. We were creating a new world of food in this country.  – Alice Medrich

Picture of Farmer's Market

“Food is an essential part of Berkeley’s identity.” – 2015 report from City of Berkeley’s Office of Economic Development

By Ann Harlow

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