Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.

MAKERS Moment

Parents’ Romance & Example

Parents’ Romance & Example

More From Alice

In this video

Tagged as

Waters describes her parents' great love for one another, despite their wildly opposed politics, and the noble example they set.

Alice's Biography

Charity of Choice: The Edible Schoolyard Project
Non-edible Heroes: Marcel Pagnol, Maria Montessori, Peter Sellers
Earliest Smell Memory: Applesauce cooking.
Prized Produce: As a child, she won costume contest for her “Queen of the Garden” outfit comprised of an asparagus skirt, lettuce leaf top, and peppers around her wrists.

Alice Waters is a chef, author, activist and pioneer at the forefront of the locally grown, organic food movement. Hailed as “the mother of American cooking,” she opened her visionary restaurant, Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California, in 1971. Her commitment to finding the highest-quality, seasonal ingredients and using a simple, improvisational approach sparked a tidal wave in American cuisine. For the last four decades, the restaurant has consistently ranked among the “World's 50 Best Restaurants” and has cultivated a community of local farmers, ranchers, and other suppliers who share Waters’s vision of delectable, sustainable agriculture.
Even as a child growing up in Chatham, New Jersey, Waters had a keen sense of taste. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, with a degree in French Cultural Studies in 1967. During her time at Berkeley, she studied abroad in Paris, where she shopped at daily produce markets and frequented neighborhood restaurants - an experience she found revelatory. “I feel in love with the taste of the dishes I had. But it was really way more than that,” she recalls. “I just fell in love with the whole way of life - that took food and connected you to nature, the time, the moment in time.” The experience and subsequent travels inspired her to open Chez Panisse back in Berkeley.
 
Waters has authored eight books on food and cooking, including Chez Panisse Cooking and The Art of Simple Food. She founded the Chez Panisse Foundation in 1996, and created the Edible Schoolyard program, which brings organic gardens, kitchen classrooms, and sustainable food curriculum to several public schools across the country. Waters is also a champion on national level for school lunch reform and universal access to healthy, organic foods.
 
In 1992, she became the first woman named “Best Chef in America” by the James Beard Foundation, and in 1997, received the organization’s Humanitarian Award. Her other numerous honors include being co-recipient, with Kofi Annan, of the Global Environmental Citizen Award from Harvard Medical School in 2008, receiving Bon Appetit magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000, and being named to the French Legion of Honor in 2009.

Related Videos

Asenath Andrews
Asenath Andrews
Educator

Asenath Andrews founded and is currently principal of the Catherine Ferguson Academy in Detroit, a school for teenagers who are pregnant or parents. With studies illuminating how m...

Connie Chung
Connie Chung
Television Journalist

Connie Chung became the first Asian and the second woman to co-anchor one of America's major network news programs when she co-hosted the "CBS Evening News" with Dan ...

Susan Cain
Susan Cain
Writer

Susan Cain is the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, published in 2012. The non-fiction book, which took seven years to write, immedia...

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
First Latina Elected to Congress

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen fled Castro’s Cuba with her family when she was eight. She was educated in Miami’s Little Havana and earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1975, bef...