Coming to My Senses by Alice Waters
The Making of a Counterculture Cook

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Before she had an ideology, she had desires. By the end of her book we understand that she built Chez Panisse because she couldn’t find a restaurant to satisfy those desires and wanted one to exist.
-NY Times

Synopsis

The long-awaited memoir from cultural icon and culinary standard bearer Alice Waters recalls the circuitous road and tumultuous times leading to the opening of what is arguably America's most influential restaurant.
 
When Alice Waters opened the doors of her "little French restaurant" in Berkeley, California in 1971 at the age of 27, no one ever anticipated the indelible mark it would leave on the culinary landscape—Alice least of all. Fueled in equal parts by naiveté and a relentless pursuit of beauty and pure flavor, she turned her passion project into an iconic institution that redefined American cuisine for generations of chefs and food lovers. In Coming to My Senses Alice retraces the events that led her to 1517 Shattuck Avenue and the tumultuous times that emboldened her to find her own voice as a cook when the prevailing food culture was embracing convenience and uniformity.  Moving from a repressive suburban upbringing to Berkeley in 1964 at the height of the Free Speech Movement and campus unrest, she was drawn into a bohemian circle of charismatic figures whose views on design, politics, film, and food would ultimately inform the unique culture on which Chez Panisse was founded. Dotted with stories, recipes, photographs, and letters, Coming to My Senses is at once deeply personal and modestly understated, a quietly revealing look at one woman's evolution from a rebellious yet impressionable follower to a respected activist who effects social and political change on a global level through the common bond of food.
 

About Alice Waters

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ALICE WATERS's influence on American cooking is unrivaled. Inspired by the markets of France, Waters opened Chez Panisse (named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet) in 1971, Chez Panisse Café in 1980, and Café Fanny in 1984. She founded her career on creating dishes using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients long before sustainability was en vogue. Alice has been awarded the Legion of Honor, the James Beard Best Chef in America Award, Humanitarian Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996, she created the Chez Panisse Foundation to fund the Edible Schoolyard, a model of edible education in the public school system. She is the author of many cookbooks, most recently In the Green Kitchen and The Art of Simple Food. For more information about Chez Panisse, please visit ChezPanisse.com. For more information about Alice's work with the Edible Schoolyard, please visit ChezPanisseFoundation.org.
 
Published September 5, 2017 by Clarkson Potter. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Cooking. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Coming to My Senses
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 05 2017

The veteran and much-honored chef and writer returns with a memoir that shows how bumps, bruises, and even youthful confusion and clumsiness can form the Yellow Brick Road...An almost charmed restaurant life that exhales the sweet aromas of honesty and self-awareness.

Read Full Review of Coming to My Senses: The Maki... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Pete Wells on Sep 20 2017

Before she had an ideology, she had desires. By the end of her book we understand that she built Chez Panisse because she couldn’t find a restaurant to satisfy those desires and wanted one to exist.

Read Full Review of Coming to My Senses: The Maki... | See more reviews from NY Times

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