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Alice Waters & Chez Panisse : the romantic, impractical, often eccentric, ultima
Thomas McNamee
Adult Nonfiction TX910.5.W38 M36 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Talk about dish: McNamee's book is a gossipy history of the famed restaurant and a biography of the individual behind its three-decade rise from humble beginnings to international renown. Alice Waters was a young, single American woman with strong, confident sense and vision but little experience in the restaurant business when she moved to Berkeley in the 1960s. She loved food and cooking, and dreamed of opening a restaurant; her passion and enthusiasm eventually produced a location, a crew and a clientele. The book chronicles the following decades with extensive detail from a behind-the-scenes viewpoint, going from stovetop to bedroom, from opening night right up through the restaurant's recent 35th anniversary. Larger-than-life personalities abound, but the primary focus is Waters, whose success occasionally comes across as attributable to accidents and other people as often as design. The author researched restaurant archives and interviewed dozens of willing subjects with Waters's approval, and the result is a melange of reverential biography with restaurant and food history. Sidebars scattered throughout the text provide additional anecdotes and insight into Waters's favorite dishes. Serious foodies will devour this memoir. B&w photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Chez Panisse is known for embodying what the French call terroir, the unique sense of place that lends its taste to foods raised and grown there. McNamee's book explores the origins of the restaurant and the influence that Waters has had on American foodways. He details her passionate interest in French food, sparked after a year at the Sorbonne, and how this led to the creation of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA, in the 1970s. Drawing on the restaurant's archives at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as interviews with Waters and her circle, McNamee presents a candid examination of the restaurant's growth. He is also able to illustrate the famous chef's passion for organic, locally raised food and its impact on California and beyond. The author's sensitivity to nature and his sympathy for his subject make this an engaging and tantalizing read. Recommended for any library with a strong culinary collection. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/06.]-Shelley Brown, New Westminster P.L., B.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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