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Alice Waters hails from Chatham, New Jersey, but her culinary roots are international. Following a lifelong passion for food and agriculture, she graduated from the University of California in 1967 with a degree in French Cultural Studies. Alice then trained at the Montessori School in London, followed by a seminal year traveling in France. Her appreciation for classical French technique coupled with

Alice opened her signature restaurant, Chez Panisse, in 1971. The Berkeley restaurant featured a five-course, fixed-price menu that changed daily. To this day, the set menu format remains at the heart of Alice's philosophy of serving the highest quality products according to the season. Over two decades, she has discovered and encouraged a network of farmers and ranchers who now ensure Chez Panisse a steady supply of pure and fresh ingredients, almost all organically grown. The upstairs cafe opened in 1980, and features an a la carte menu--with an open kitchen and a wood-burning pizza oven. In 1984, Cafe Fanny, named for her daughter, opened a few miles from the restaurant.

Over the years Alice has garnered countless awards and accolades, including James Beard Foundation awards for best chef and best restaurant, lifetime achievement awards from Bon Appetit and The Ritz-Carlton Corporation, and even awards from the United States Senate.

A nationally recognized and prized humanitarian, Alice is currently involved with developing a food-based curriculum at Berkeley's Martin Luther Kings Junior High School. This project seeks to involve children directly in planting, gardening, harvesting, cooking, and eating, with the goal of illuminating the vital relationship of food to their lives and teaching them respect for each other and for the planet. It is intended to be a significant part of the school's curriculum, and to help resuscitate its lunch program. This King Junior High Edible Schoolyard is being conceived as a pilot project to serve as a model for schools across the country.

Alice also has ongoing extensive involvement with the Horticulture Project at the San Francisco County Jail and its related program, the Garden Project, a job- training organization and market garden. These programs teach organic gardening to prisoners and parolees in order to renew their self-esteem and install community responsibility.

Alice is married to Stephen Singer, a wine and olive oil merchant and a painter, and has a daughter, Fanny.

Alice’s numerous awards include:

  • Rachel Carson Environmental Award from the National Nutritional Foods Association, 2002
  • Chez Panisse: Best Restaurant in America, Gourmet Magazine, 2001
  • Robert Mondavi Food and Wine Award, Collins School of Hospitality Management, 2001
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Bon Appetit Magazine, American Food and Entertaining Awards, 2000
  • Pellegrino Artusi Award, City of Forlimpopoli, Italy, 2000
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Ritz-Carlton Resorts, 1999
  • Alumna of the Year, University of California at Berkeley, 1999
  • Excellence in Education Award, from Senator Barbara Boxer, 1998
  • Humanitarian of the Year, James Beard Foundation, 1997
  • National Education Diplomate Award, Chicago, Illinois, 1996
  • Honorary Degree from Mills College, Oakland, California, 1994
  • Best Chef in America and Best Restaurant in America, James Beard Foundation, 1992
  • Senator Barbara Boxer Top Ten Woman Award, 1991
  • Le Tour du Monde en 80 Toques, Metziner & Varaut, 1991
  • Restaurant and Business Leadership Award, Restaurants & Institutions Magazine, 1987
  • Les Meilleurs Chefs du Monde No. 10. Cuisine et Vins de France, 1986
  • The James Beard Special Achievement Award, 1985
  • The Cook's Magazine Top 50 Who's Who, 1982