Item description for Chez Panisse Café Cookbook by Alice L. Waters...
Overview Exposing the casual side of Chez Panisse, the renowned chef offers 144 recipes for everything from pizza to home-cured pancetta to apricot bread pudding. 75,000 first printing.
We hung the walls with old French movie posters advertising the films of Marcel Pagnol, films that had already provided us with both a name and an ideal: to create a community of friends, lovers, and relatives that span generations and is in tune with the seasons, the land, and human appetites.
So writes Alice Waters of the opening of Berkeley's Chez Panisse Cafe on April Fool's Day, 1980. Located above the more formal Chez Panisse Restaurant, the Cafe is a bustling neighborhood bistro where guests needn't reserve far in advance and can choose from the ever-changing a la carte menu. It's the place where Alice Waters's inventive chefs cook in a more impromptu and earthy vein, drawing on the healthful, low-tech traditions of the cuisines of such Mediterranean regions as Catalonia, Campania, and Provence, while improvising and experimenting with the best products of Chez Panisse's own regional network of small farms and producers.
In the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook, the follow-up to the award-winning Chez Panisse Vegetables, Alice Waters and her team of talented cooks offer more than 140 of the cafe's best-recipes--some that have been on the menu since the day cafe opened and others freshly reinvented with the honesty and ingenuity that have made Chez Panisse so famous. In addition to irresistible recipes, the Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook is filled with chapter-opening essays on the relationships Alice has cultivated with the farmers, foragers and purveyors--most of them within an hour's drive of Berkeley--who make it possible for Chez Panisse to boast that nearly all food is locally grown, certifiably organic, and sustainably grown and harvested.
Alice encourages her chefs and cookbook readers alike to decide what to cook only after visiting the farmer's market or produce stand. Then we can all fully appreciate the advantages of eating according to season--fresh spring lamb in late March, ripe tomato salads in late summer, Comice pear crisps in autumn.
This book begins with a chapter of inspired vegetable recipes, from a vivid salad of avocados and beets to elegant Morel Mushroom Toasts to straightforward side dishes of Spicy Broccoli Raab and Garlicky Kale. The Chapter on eggs and cheese includes two of the cafe's most famous dishes, a garden lettuce salad with baked goat cheese and the Crostata di Perrella, the cafe's version of a calzone. Later chapters focus on fish and shellfish, beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, each offering its share of delightful dishes. You'll find recipes for curing your own pancetta, for simple grills and succulent braises, and for the definitive simple roast chicken--as well as sumptuous truffed chicken breasts. Finally the pastry cooks of Chez Panisse serve forth a chapter of uncomplicated sweets, including Apricot Bread Pudding, Chocolate Almond Cookies, and Wood Oven-baked Figs with Raspberries.
Gorgeously designed and illustrated throughout with colored block prints by David Lance Goines, who has eaten at the cafe since the day it opened, Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook is destined to become an indispensable classic. Fans of Alice Waters's restaurant and cafe will be thrilled to discover the recipes that keep them coming back for more. Loyal readers of her earlier cookbooks will delight in this latest collection of time-tested, deceptively simple recipes. And anyone who loves pure, vibrant, delicious fare made from the finest ingredients will be honored to add these new recipes to his or her repertoire.
Awards and Recognitions Chez Panisse Caf Cookbook by Alice L. Waters has received the following awards and recognitions -
IACP Crystal Whisk Award - 2000 Winner - Chefs/Restaurants category
Citations And Professional Reviews Chez Panisse Caf Cookbook by Alice L. Waters has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly Best Books - 01/01/1999 page 55
Publishers Weekly - 08/16/1999 page 79
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Studio: William Morrow Cookbooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.3" Width: 7.28" Height: 1.08" Weight: 2.2 lbs.
Release Date Aug 25, 1999
Publisher William Morrow Cookbooks
ISBN 0060175834 ISBN13 9780060175832 UPC 099455034005
Availability 9 units. Availability accurate as of May 29, 2017 12:09.
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More About Alice L. Waters
Alice L. Waters has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Chez Panisse Café Cookbook?
A good exposition of Alice Waters' work Nov 9, 2007
Alice Walters is well known for her "philosophy" of cooking, as exemplified in her restaurant "Chez Panisse." She emphasizes top quality ingredients and fresh foods. For example, she developed a network of local producers of vegetables to provide the best quality and freshest raw materials for her restaurant's menu items. She speaks of how (page 3) "central the quality of produce is to our cooking. Because the food we cook is simple and straightforward, every ingredient must be the best of its kind." Since most of the growers that she has worked with sell at local farmers' markets, she suggests that readers of this cookbook use local farmers' markets as a source of vegetables--not your average supermarket.
The cookbook illustrates her ideas pretty well. There are simple recipes; there are others that (despite her words above) aren't. The very first recipe, on page 7, is a simple garden lettuce salad. And she notes that (page 6) "a restaurant is only as good as its simplest green salad." On page 55 is another salad recipe, one of only two recipes that have been continuously on her menu since the day her place opened--Baked goat cheese with garden lettuces.
There are nice hints for cooking, such as her description on page 44 about how to make a perfect hard-cooked egg.
Other recipes that strike me as interesting--Crostata de perrella (the other item that has been on the menu since Day One), a calzone; Yellowfin Tuna with coriander and fennel seed; Salted Atlantic cod baked with tomatoes; Roast pork loin with rosemary and fennel; Red-wine braised bacon; Grilled chicken breasts au poivre. And so on.
This represents, first, a good cookbook, with quite a few interesting recipes. It also represents a view of how to get the best quality out of one's cooking. For both reasons, this is a good buy for those interested in acquiring worthwhile cookbooks.
More than a Cookbook, not quite a Classic Jan 23, 2004
This book is, at the very least, a feast for the eyes due to the hauntingly Art Nouveau woodcut illustrations by David Lance Goines. This, together with Alice Water's substantial reputation sets the bar of expectations very high for this book.
Waters has established a niche for herself in the culinary world, which is not unlike that of Martha Stewart. She is the flag bearer for a culinary style which endorses using fresh local produce for both their health benefits and the economic benefits to small, artisinal farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, followed by a loving handling of these ingredients in the kitchen in order to draw out their best properties. Her similarity to Miss Martha is that both are vocal in their support of their lifestyle choices, yet they are not necessarily the most gifted craftsmen in their chosen fields. Both enhance their own standing by hosting true stars in the culinary world. Martha does it on her TV show with Mario and Eric and Jean-George and Daniel and a long line of other justly famous chefs. Alice does it in her kitchen where she has launched the careers of Jeremiah Tower and Paul Bertolli.
Ms. Waters' efforts may not have been as lucrative as Miss Martha's, but Alice has succeeded in establishing a leader's reputation in her field with no blemishes other than a few for possibly hogging a bit more credit than may be her due for the success of Chez Panisse and the creation of `California Cuisine'.
This book seems to answer one question puzzling me about California Cuisine. I have always wondered whether it was Miss Alice or Wolfgang Puck who first installed a pizza oven and started selling pizza in a distinctly un-Italian venue in California. Alice herein claims that Wolfgang got the idea from a visit to Chez Panisse. If Alice had any regrets about the glamorous Austrian's stealing her thunder, she can get satisfaction in having referred her incompetent German oven bricklayer to Wolfgang.
As I indicate in my title to this review, the book contains much more than you would expect to find in a conventional cookbook. It's content is much richer than Alice's book on vegetables, for example, in that it opens with a little history of the Chez Panisse Café and its style of service, clientele, and suppliers. The level of detail about the ingredients even matches the more specialized Vegetables book. After a while, it starts to read less and less like a cookbook and more and more like a culinary travelogue, the most famous of which is Patience Gray's `Honey from a Weed'. The travelogue aspect adds value for the reader, but it is not enough to carry the book to a full five star rating.
The culinary aspects of the book, the recipes, give a loving treatment of their ingredients, making every effort to respect the attributes of each foodstuff. The book does not, however, spell out every little detail of every technique. It does not, a la Alton Brown for example, give you careful steps for dealing with beets. It's mission is not to teach prepping, it is to communicate a knowledge and appreciation for all of the different types of beets available to you, once you have established your connections with local farmers. I have not found any extremely difficult recipes in this book, but an amateur with a fair level of skill will enjoy the book much more than it will by a rank newbie.
Just as with Patience Gray's book, not having a source of nettles for my pasta will not detract from my pleasure in reading about how nettles are prepared. I am truly amazed at the extent to which foraging for `weeds' continues to this day in some European societies. But back to Alice.
I give this book good marks for giving the name of every recipe, not just chapter titles, in the table of contents. This little feature always enhances the value of a cookbook. This value is further enhanced by listing recipes by major ingredient rather than by course. This fits the style of the earlier book on Vegetables and makes finding an appropriate recipe even easier. This organization is taken to it's logical conclusion in that even pantry recipes commonly put into a separate chapter are slotted by ingredient so that chicken stock is in the chapter on chicken and so on.
The recipes cover the most simple salads to some of the most unusual products such as boudin blanc, a French white sausage of chicken and pork. The range of recipes is simply a result of Alice's staying on message. These are all the recipes made at the Chez Panisse Café, and only recipes made at the Chez Panisse Café.
While several recipes may be beyond the skills, time constraints, budget, or ingredient availability of many readers, the book succeeds in providing great value. As a source of salad recipes alone, the book is first rate. Salads are one of Alice Waters' most passionate subjects. While my title to this review holds back any claim that this is a classic like `Honey from a Weed', it is the equal to the very similar, recent book `The Vineyard Garden' to which I gave five stars. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who shares Alice Waters' ideals. I would recommend it to anyone else interested in food and cookbooks.
You Didn't Expect To Cook With This, Did You? Dec 27, 2003
My foodie friends in Berkeley jokingly refer to Alice's books as "food porn". I have actually cooked a couple of the recipes and, while they are correct, they are exhausting. In Berkeley, CA, where the author's restaurant is thriving, it is easy to get the interesting and seasonal ingredients that are described in the book. However, the complexity of preparation of the recipes makes the book less acessible to most readers and home cooks.
The illustrations are lovely, as are the narratives. It is fun to just read the book and fantasize about being a hemp-clad, kinder version of Martha Stewart. However, it is not the most practical cookbook to stick in the cookbook holder when putting the family's meal together.
The real lesson behind this book is that foods that are in season taste better, are less expensive, and are fun to eat. Changing the menu as the seasons change keeps the experience of dining and cooking interesting and entertaining. Also, buying seasonal food is better for the environment than flying foods out of season from another hemisphere.
Take that wisdom, go to your store and get seasonal fruits and vegetables and use an easier and more accessible cookbook like, "The Joy of Cooking". But do keep this one on the coffeetable for those days you want to fantasize about being a world class hippie chef.
Great book for the serious cook Dec 6, 2003
I had made many things out of the book, and all have turned out delicious. The success of the dishes depends completely on having the highest quality, freshest ingredients available. If you can't get a hold of any pancetta or prosciutto, you're going to be really limited in what you can prepare from this book. The cookbook is definitely for a serious home cook, who's interested in spending time in the kitchen, making homemade sausages, experimenting with homemade pancetta, etc. If that's you, you will love it!
Disappointed Jun 11, 2001
I have a lot of respect for Alice Waters. She plays a positive, constructive role in promoting excellent,healthy food in this country. I wish, however, she had take more care over the quality of the product that has her name on it, The Chez Panisse Cafe Cookbook. Obscure ingredients intrigue me and, because I live in northern California, I'm likely to find a lot of them. What annoys me is sloppy editing that can lead to their wastage. Too many of the recipes are unclear. My complaint has nothing to do with my experience as a cook. The flours in the pizza dough recipe could have been described more clearly. Where was the editor? Why didn't Ms Waters' read her galleys closely? I want to point out one more recipe to show how the small things matter. In the recipe that calls for bottarga (dried tuna or spelt roe that comes in small quantities, costs a fortune and can only be found at an Italian supermarket in Sacramento, as far as I know), saffron and lemon over spaghetti, the directions are to shave the bottarga over the spaghetti. Now that I've made bottarga with spaghetti and lemon (but not the saffron) several times, there is no way that shaving the bottarga (at $40 for a couple of ounces!) helps melt it over the spaghetti. Why wasn't grating called for? It's a minor detail, but when expensive ingredients are involved, I'd like to have confidence in the cookbook writer when I try it.
So, go back to Jean-George, Marcella, Lynn and even Jamie. Leave this one behind. Alice's food is best experienced in her restaurant.