Coming to My Senses
“People want to know how I came to open a restaurant at twenty-seven years old. I never went to culinary school, I never cooked professionally. Why a restaurant? Why this kind of restaurant? Why this kind of cooking? How did I have the courage to open it? The truth is, I’d never really thought about it deeply until now.”
When Alice Waters opened the doors of her “little French restaurant” in Berkeley, California, in 1971 at the age of twenty-seven, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape—Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naïveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine.
In COMING TO MY SENSES (Clarkson Potter/Publishers; September 5, 2017; hardcover; $27.00) Alice retraces the circuitous path that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook, when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity. Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic (mostly male) figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded.
Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, COMING TO MY SENSES is a quietly revealing look at one woman’s evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist, and how she established the iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers alike.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Alice Waters is the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Café in Berkeley, California. She founded the Edible Schoolyard and has received the National Humanities Medal, the French Legion of Honor, the WSJ Magazine Innovators Award, and three James Beard Foundation Awards. Alice is the vice president of Slow Food International and the author of thirteen books. Her most recent books are My Pantry, The Art of Simple Food II, 40 Years of Chez Panisse, and In the Green Kitchen. She lives in Berkeley, California.