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

Susan Brownmiller
Susan Brownmiller
Author, "Against Our Will"

Susan Brownmiller is an author and feminist activist, best known for her groundbreaking book Against Her Will: Men, Women, and Rape, which helped modernize attitudes towards the ra...

Dusty Roads
Dusty Roads
Stewardess Fighting Discrimination

Barbara “Dusty” Roads is a former stewardess and union leader who led a landmark sex discrimination case in the airline industry. She was born and raised in Cleveland, ...

Brandon Holley
Brandon Holley
Fashion Editor-in-Chief

Brandon Holley is the former Editor-in-Chief for Lucky, the award-winning magazine about shopping and style. She began her magazine career as a writer for Paper, which eventually l...

Susan Sygall
Susan Sygall
CEO of Mobility International USA

Susan Sygall’s work has transformed international exchange and global development for people with disabilities. Sygall became a wheelchair rider after a car accident at age 1...