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Alice Waters    

Executive Chef, Founder & Owner of Chez Panisse; Sustainable Agriculture Advocate

Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California, which first opened its doors in 1971. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995 she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free organic school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. She conceived and helped create the Yale Sustainable Food Project in 2003, and the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome in 2007. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010; and induction into the National Woman’s hall of Fame in 2017. In 2015 she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. Alice was most recently awarded the honor of “Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” in 2019. Alice is the author of fifteen books, including New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea, and, a memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook.

Speech Topics


Slow Food Values in a Fast Food World

How the values of our Fast Food World - efficiency, availability, and cheapness – have influenced our society. Are Slow Food values the antidote to our current culture of convenience? In this speech, Alice discusses the principles of Slow Food – sustainability, seasonality, and community – in creating a “delicious revolution.

The Power of Gathering: 40 Years of Chez Panisse

Since opening its doors in 1971, Chez Panisse has been considered a pioneer of the farm to table movement. Inspiring American cuisine for over four decades, Chez Panisse maintains its same dedication to sourcing only the best local, seasonal ingredients in determining its menus. In this speech, Alice reflects upon her inspiration in starting the restaurant – a desire to recreate the food and culture she experienced while studying in France – and shares her personal stories about the beginnings of what would become one of America’s most notable restaurants.

Edible Education

A speech for parents, educators, and community leaders interested in introducing the edible schoolyard curriculum into the classroom, Alice discusses the importance of edible education in empowering students with the knowledge and values to make food choices that are healthy for them, their communities, and the environment.

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