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Chez Panisse

Coordinates: 37°52′46.49″N 122°16′8.46″W / 37.8795806°N 122.2690167°W / 37.8795806; -122.2690167
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

37°52′46.49″N 122°16′8.46″W / 37.8795806°N 122.2690167°W / 37.8795806; -122.2690167

Chez Panisse
The front entrance to Chez Panisse
Restaurant information
Owner(s)Alice Waters
Food typeLocal/organic, California
CountryUnited States

Chez Panisse is a Berkeley, California restaurant, known as one of the originators of California cuisine, and the farm-to-table movement. The restaurant emphasizes ingredients rather than technique and has developed a supply network of direct relationships with local farmers, ranchers and dairies.

The main, downstairs restaurant serves a set menu that changes daily and reflects the season's produce.[1] An upstairs cafe offers an a la carte menu at lower prices.



The restaurateur, author and food activist Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971 with the film producer Paul Aratow, then a professor of comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley. It is named for a character in Marcel Pagnol's Marseille Trilogy [fr].[2][3] They set up the restaurant and its menu on the principle that it was of primary importance to use food that was fresh and in season, grown locally, organically and sustainably. They deemphasized low prices and making available a variety of products unrelated to the season of the year, which is incompatible with growing food locally. Because the ingredients were procured locally in California, the food to some degree took on a very Californian character, hence helping create California cuisine.

Victoria Wise was the first chef.[4][5] Waters and the restaurant began building up their network of local producers. Many of these local farmers, ranchers, and dairies continue to provide the restaurant with the majority of its ingredients today.[3] [6] This approach was extremely innovative.[7] Later chefs de cuisine were Jeremiah Tower and Paul Bertolli and Jean-Pierre Moulle. The building was remodeled twice following fires in 1982 and 2013.[8]


The Chez Panisse downstairs kitchen and dining room

The culinary influences for Chez Panisse were largely French, inspired by the 1920s cookbook of French cuisine bourgeoise, La bonne cuisine de Madame E. Saint-Ange. This book has been translated into English by Paul Aratow, who was also the first chef de cuisine at Chez Panisse. Waters, who had been an exchange student in France in the early 1960s, was influenced by French food-related values and customs, including buying local produce and frugality in avoiding waste.[9] Other influences included vineyard owners Lulu and Lucien Peyraud and the writings of Richard Olney and Elizabeth David.

Critical reception


In 2001, Gourmet magazine named Chez Panisse the Best Restaurant in America.[10] From 2002 to 2008 it was ranked by Restaurant magazine as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world and was ranked number 12 in 2003.[11] Michelin awarded the restaurant a one-star rating in its guide to San Francisco Bay Area dining from 2006 through 2009, but the restaurant lost its star in 2010.[12][13] In 2007, Alice Waters won Restaurant Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Award, and was cited as one of the most influential figures in American cooking over the past 50 years.[14]

Culinary innovations


Art of Chez Panisse


Berkeley designer and printmaker David Lance Goines has illustrated many of the Chez Panisse posters and defined the visual brand in the 1970s and 1980s.[18][19] The aesthetic for the brand was influenced by Ukiyo-e and the German Art Nouveau movement (German: Jugendstil).[19]

Patricia Curtan has been the designer and artist of many of the menus and some of the cookbooks for Chez Panisse, which were created as linocut prints.[20] Curtan published the book Menus for Chez Panisse (2011).[21]

Notable alumni


See also



  1. ^ "About". Chez Panisse Restaurant. Retrieved September 21, 2013.
  2. ^ Waters, Alice (1986). Foreword. My Father’s Glory ; and, My Mother’s Castle: Memories of Childhood. By Pagnol, Marcel. Translated by Barisse, Rita. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press. p. 7. ISBN 0-86547-256-4. p. 7: My partners and I decided to name our new restaurant after the widower Panisse, a compassionate, placid, and slightly ridiculous marine outfitter in the Marseille trilogy, so as to evoke the sunny good feelings of another world that contained so much that was incomplete or missing in our own—the simple wholesome good food of Provence, the atmosphere of tolerant camaraderie and great lifelong friendships, and respect for both the old folks and their pleasures and for the young and their passions.
  3. ^ a b Alice Waters & Chez Panisse, Thomas McNamee, The Penguin Press, 2007.
  4. ^ Tackeff, Sam. "pig by the tail | The Second Lunch". Retrieved Jul 13, 2019.
  5. ^ "Victoria Wise". Jan 29, 2010. Retrieved Jul 13, 2019.
  6. ^ Chez Panisse website|accessdate = 2010-10-27
  7. ^ "Fifty Years Ago, Berkeley Restaurant Chez Panisse Launched the Farm-to-Table Movement". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  8. ^ Staff, Lydia Tuan (Jun 24, 2013). "Chez Panisse to reopen Monday after March fire". The Daily Californian. Retrieved Jul 13, 2019.
  9. ^ "Chatting with Alice Waters: French Food Culture, Cooking for Kids and a Dressed-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwich". Food Network. Retrieved 2021-11-06.
  10. ^ "Alice Waters Biography". Starchefs.com. Retrieved 2010-10-27.
  11. ^ Number 12 in 2003, Number 20 in 2006, number 69 in 2010"The World's Best Restaurants. 2006". Restaurant magazine. William Reed Publishing Ltd. Archived from the original on 2012-05-30. Retrieved 2010-10-27. Number 40 in 2007,"The World's Best Restaurants. 2007". Archived from the original on 2007-04-24. Retrieved 2007-04-24. and #37 in 2008.
  12. ^ Finz, Stacy (2007-10-24). "What's New: Who's in, who's out in second Michelin guide". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-11-04.
  13. ^ Birdsall, John (October 27, 2010). "Michelin's Stripping Chez Panisse of Its Star No Ding on Alice". SF Weekly. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  14. ^ "Alice Waters – 2007". Restaurant Magazine. William Reed Publishing Ltd. Archived from the original on 2010-05-27. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
  15. ^ Robert Lauriston (2007-09-26). "Pizza Smackdown:SoCal chain goes head to head with hometown favorite". San Francisco Weekly. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
  16. ^ Severson, Kim (2006-10-18). "For American Chèvre, An Era Ends". The New York Times.
  17. ^ At Chez Panisse, It's Time for Tap Water NPR's All Things Considered, March 22, 2007
  18. ^ "David Lance Goines". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  19. ^ a b Guthmann, Edward (2014-04-13). "Prince of posters David Lance Goines keeps his hand in". SFGATE. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  20. ^ "Q&A: Chef offers inside scoop on Roux40, a soon-to-open Oakland restaurant designed and run by women of color". The Mercury News. 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2022-04-09.
  21. ^ Sadlier, Darlene J. (2019-08-09). The Lilly Library from A to Z: Intriguing Objects in a World-Class Collection. Indiana University Press. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0-253-04269-9.