Women's Month Spotlight: Chef Alice Waters
A Revolutionary Chef
The year 1971 was host to a revolution. It is the year the world’s first email was successfully sent. A high-profile criminal trial took place, and it is the year when young people staged countless sit-ins, student rallies, and protests of respective causes. Sonically, artists like Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, Marvin Gaye, and Carole King topped the charts, ironically, with heartfelt tunes that most often evoked imagery of love and peace. In 1971, the global cry for change seemed to flow like a rhythm. Now that there was a soundtrack being provided, people still needed to eat. Since lasting change typically starts from the inside, it was natural for Chef Alice Waters to pioneer a food revolution. The world was being reshaped in a multitude of ways, but even in the midst of an ever-changing world, everyone still had to eat. So it was that year, after settling on the West Coast, that Chef Waters debuted one of America's first farm-to-table restaurants, Chez Panisse. In doing this, the Berkley alum introduced today’s California Cuisine to the world, and thereby, birthed a nutritional revolution.
The Slow Food Movement
The author of multiple books, a young Chef Waters mastered French Cuisine in the late 1960s. Her European travel developed her philosophy, nurtured her approach, and affirmed her preference for organically grown ingredients. Shopping at local markets to harvest local ingredients is part of a tenet rooted in sustainability, and the sentiment is ever-present with Chef Waters’ presentations. Her dishes celebrate the most sustainably sourced ingredients available, making for unique dining experiences. Chef Waters’ food preferences reinforce her belief in "slow food," a term applied to the fresh, organic ingredients she teaches others to use in meals. Slow Food is also a nutrition-minded collective that promotes and encourages fresh food options over fast food, and with which she is heavily involved. The organization deems fresher items are not just healthier, but also preserves the integrity of farming institutions and reinforces gardening skillsets. Chef Waters is widely respected for her activism with Slow Food, and is also the credited inspiration for the White House garden, made popular by former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Keeping the Culture in Agriculture
For Chef Waters, inspiring the next generation of chefs starts with the foods they access. She believes that more locally accessible and organically grown ingredients should be incorporated in their meal creation. Therefore she is dedicated to preserving the culture, science, and ecology of the often downplayed Agriculture industry. In short, it is imperative that farm-to-table meals begin with farm-fresh ingredients. Her Edible Schoolyard Project encourages public schools to buy directly from farms and ranches that are proven to be dedicated to land sustainability and regenerative processes. The James Beard Foundation has recognized Chef Waters’ efforts with numerous awards for the actions she has taken in changing the way we think about what we eat.
Discover Chef Waters’ recipe for Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad below!
Women’s History Month
During the month of March, Lamson will recognize Women’s History Month by sharing stories of bright and talented women who are exemplary in the culinary industry. We encourage you to celebrate the contributions all women have made over the course of history.
2 medium ruby grapefruits
1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 medium Hass avocados, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Chervil leaves, for garnish
Using a sharp knife, cut the skin and all of the bitter white pith off of the grapefruits. Working over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Squeeze the juice from the membranes into the bowl. Pro Tip: Use the Lamson 8" Premier Forged Carving Knife and 2.5" Premier Forged Paring Knife to make this step a breeze!
Transfer 2 tablespoons of the juice to another bowl. Add the zest, shallot, and vinegar; let the dressing stand for 10 minutes.
Season the avocado with salt and arrange on plates with the grapefruit sections. Stir the oil into the dressing; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the grapefruit and avocado, garnish with the chervil, and serve.
Make all your recipe prep a success with these Lamson tools:
20 Piece Premier Forged Knife Block Set