It was one of the mantras favorite of Steve Jobs. “Simple can be harder than complicated. It takes hard work to put his ideas in clear and simple terms. But it’s worth it in the end because when you succeed, you can move mountains.” Move mountains, Alice Waters knows how to do. Real star in the United States, it is regarded as a visionary leader who has dramatically changed, here are several decades, the california cuisine by introducing seasonal ingredients, produced locally.
The name of her restaurant, Chez Panisse, opened in 1971, in Berkeley, California, proclaims his love for Pagnol (his daughter is named elsewhere Fanny) and the French culture. Since the origin, it offers a fixed price menu but changes daily at the whim of the products of the vicinity as she chooses. Her new book The Art of simple food , and finally published in France, echoed this as advocated by the founder of Apple. His recipes are based on taste and respect for the seasons, through the short circuits and virtuous.
“The French chefs often have the impression that it must be complicated to be deemed. So what to do simple is the most difficult because it requires the perfect ingredients”
It still took over ten years for it to be finally available in france, whereas it is unavoidable in many countries. The time may be that the precepts yet clear to Alice Waters * sound like obvious things to us. Because the younger generations are more engaged and receptive, she says, than their elders. Probably also “because the French chefs often have the impression that it must be complicated to be famous,” she says with malice. So what to do simple is the most difficult because it requires the perfect ingredients”.
This lovely woman of 74 years was marked by his stay in France, when she landed, a young student in Paris in the 1960s. She fell instantly under the charm of the city but also the French cuisine. The industrialization of the food was not even a topic, the chains of fast-food did not spread their burgers to the four corners of the capital. All the amaze: the stick of bread, of course, but also fresh fruit, oysters that we gobait to the shell, jam, and lemon tarts. Of the discoveries that have fuelled his desire to become a chef and develop this approach to product healthy and “stroke” in his own restaurant.
“It is important to introduce children to the culture of the right product, to teach them how to be close to nature”
His revolution “delicious”, both voluntarist and the pacific, coincided with the years of the hippies and the movement libertarians, but his quest was in fact more hedonistic than political. Even if, forty years later, Michelle Obama gave him as an evidence of the realization of the garden of the White House! At the end of the 1980s, Alice Waters, indeed, had raised funds to create vegetable gardens in public schools for disadvantaged children. The first Edible Schoolyard (“edible schoolyard”), installed on vacant land of the college Martin Luther King Jr, Berkeley, was inaugurated in 1996, the year of the 25th anniversary of Chez Panisse.
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“It is important to introduce children to the culture of the right product, to teach them how to be close to nature”, she repeats to the environment. Because it is these same children who, as adults, will engage in the search for a healthier diet and responsible. “It is true, it requires a certain commitment,” she continues. You should meet with farmers, talk with them, taste their products. But it is also the assurance to help the local economy and to have food of very high quality that are not organic come from the end of the world.”
“Our way of nourishing ourselves, the food we eat is déteignent on our being, our relation to the world”
Among the French chefs who were influenced by his vision of gastronomy and how it feels close, there are names like Michel Troisgros and Olivier Roellinger, Michel Guérard,”which leads in its land of Eugénie-les-Bains a similar struggle to mine, to schools and children.” Michel Troisgros, he spent six months in his restaurant in 1977. At the age of 18 years, it keeps Alice Waters, the memory of a different woman, a very beautiful humanity, with real exchanges with his collaborators. “Chez Panisse, it was a kitchen of a house made into a restaurant for customers received as friends.” And, in memory of the almond cake still resting on the counter, which he used to cut lichettes by the way, he offers regularly in its brewery in Roanne, Central, as well as the restaurant The Hillside of Colombier, Iguérande.
Since 2002, the locavore of the first hour is the vice-president of Slow Food International, a worldwide organization born in Italy under the leadership of Carlo Petrini, and who campaigned for a “power good (flavor of the food that is not denatured by additives), clean (protection of the ecosystem and of biodiversity), and fair (decent remuneration to the producer)”. Like Monsieur Jourdain and his prose, it was already “Slow Food” before the movement and the neologism does not exist. But if the members there are now tens of thousands around the world, it says that the players and supporters are in reality much more numerous. “The French have always had a desire to defend a healthy food but between France and Italy, this has often been the competition. You, the French, have at heart the need to be autonomous with regard to your neighbors. Whatever it is, we know, Carlo and me, that the philosophy of Slow Food was born in France with Brillat-Savarin. Our way of nourishing ourselves, the food we eat is déteignent on our being, our relation to the world. And it is not the first to have written: “Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you what you are”?” This aphorism was included in his Physiology of taste. In 1825.
* Eat seasonal, Eat local and sustainable ; Buying directly from producers ; Plant a garden ; Recycle, reuse ; Cook simple, issez their taste to things ; Cook in involving your family and friends, especially children, Eat together, set up the table with care and respect ; Cherish the food.
“The Art of simple food. Notes, lessons and recipes from a revolution delicious”, by Alice Waters. Translation of Camille Labro. Actes Sud-Keribus Editions. 32 euros.