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Alice Waters and Chez Panisse

By Jane Beck, Atlanta / February 14, 2009

I've just finished Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution by Thomas McNamee. It reads almost like a novel. Alice Waters provided the impetus for the move away from classic, stuffy French "haute cuisine" to a more relaxed way of cooking and eating based on locally grown, very fresh ingredients. She opened Chez Panissse in 1971 with no idea of how to run a business and no formal chef's training. She shouldn't have succeeded, but she did.

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