One tends to think France-by-way-of-California when considering Alice Waters and her prix-fixe Berkeley temple, Chez Panisse. Yet the mother of American farm-to-table cooking spent her grade school years in Chatham. In her memoir; Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook [Clarkson Potter; 2017, with Cristina Mueller and Bob Carrau], Waters traces the unconventional path to her now-legendary restaurant’s 1971 opening. Spoiler alert: It begins in the Garden State.
This may surprise those unfamiliar with our bounty. To be fair; Waters half-jokingly writes of the slim sophistication found in a childhood New Jersey “cuisine,” where flourishes like wine pairings were unknown—the quotation marks are hers. Still, there were culinary breadcrumbs that pointed toward her trailblazing future.
Published in the Holiday 2017 issue