Chez Panisse, a restaurant in Berkeley, California founded by Alice Waters, opened its doors in 1971. It offered diners fresh, seasonal produce sourced from ethical, local farmers, foragers, gardeners, fishers, and ranchers nearby. This doesn’t sound too weird nowadays, but back then, in America, a menu like this was completely unheard of. Chez Panisse kickstarted a food movement that spread across the entire country. They also threw wild parties, and employed talented young chefs that would go on to become household names in the food industry.
Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in 1971 as a place where friends and neighbors could gather together around the table, eat good food, and exchange ideas about politics, art, and culture. In pursuit of taste, Alice and the cooks of Chez Panisse ended up at the doorsteps of the small organic farmers who were growing flavorful heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables or raising heritage breeds of animals. The restaurant has built up a diverse network of these ethical local suppliers—ranchers, fishers, orchardists, foragers, farmers, and backyard gardeners—who practice regenerative agriculture and take care of the land.