Pulse October 2015 - Page 28

CONVERSATIONS WITH ALICE WATERS B Y M A E M A Ñ AC A P - J O H N S O N ALICE WATERS—executive chef, founder and owner of Chez Panisse— adds a different flavor to the modern-day food revolution. A passionate advocate 2015 ISPA Y of the Slow Food movement, she KEL ALEX SZE IAN R A IT speaks of the indispensable role local N HUMA AWARD farmers play in providing everyone T RECIPIEN access to clean and healthy food, especially to children in public schools. Waters, who will be gracing this year’s General Session stage, has pushed for food education through The Edible Schoolyard Project, which calls for the integration of nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience in the academic curriculum of public schools. For her efforts, she has been widely recognized through multiple honors and awards, one of which is the 2015 ISPA Alex Szekely Humanitarian Award. PULSE: Who influenced your love for food and cooking? Alice Waters: Elizabeth David, Lulu Peyraud, Richard Olney, Diana Kennedy, Madhur Jaffrey, Cecilia Chang and Darina Allen. P: What sparked the idea of Chez Panisse? W: I wanted a place where my friends could come and eat delicious food—the way I had experienced it during my time spent living in France. I was looking for the taste of food in France and to share the awakening that I had there. P: You once mentioned that when you started your restaurant business, you didn’t really intend to start a food revolution but simply wanted to offer different flavors. What tipped the scale for you to eventually be actively involved in this revolution? W: When I realized how valuable the organic farmers were to the success of Chez Panisse, I wanted to support them. So I put their names on the menus and spoke publicly about the importance of local organic food. 26 PULSE ■ October 2015 P: You are passionate about educating kids about sustainable food and providing them access to healthy meals in school. In what way has The Edible Schoolyard Project helped realize this mission? W: One thing The Edible Schoolyard Project has taught me is that, when children grow food and they cook it, they all want to eat it. Our program helps to bring children into a new relationship with food, agriculture and the environment. An Edible Education model with a sustainable school lunch program has the power to transform the health and values of every child in America. P: In your opinion, what are the factors that drive the growing acceptance and support of the Slow Food movement? W: Taking care of the land, educating children, feeding ourselves in nutritious and delicious ways and bringing communities together at the table is the common language of Slow Food. It was the values of taste and pleasure that brought me into this movement but I believe it is the values of social justice, connect-