Alice Waters and Levi's Robert Hansen in their Levi's tees to benefit The Edible Schoolyard. Photo: Courtesy of Levi's
You're known as the mother of California Cuisine, yet some people say that genre doesn't exist at all. What do you think?
"People say that, but for me I think cuisine needs to stand the test of time. I think we're learning how to cook in California. And I think I've graduated from Primary School, but I think there's a whole world of cooking that's just opening up as we discover ingredients to use. And we're experimenting. Maybe in some time we really will have the kind of cooking that takes the test of time. We're a very young culture."
Besides those in the Bay Area, what other food cities are exciting you right now?
"I'm really excited about different groups of young people that are between the ages of 6 and 20. They are so articulate. They are so committed. They are so globally thinking. They are so passionate about not just what they eat, but what they listen to, and more. They are really building our culture again and I'm immensely hopeful for them."
With your Edible Schoolyard Project you are very passionate about young people having hands-on experience with food. What was the first dish you ever made for yourself?
"It was probably a banana milkshake. My mother was sort of in a health food place. So I think I just added a little vanilla in there, regular milk, and banana."
"Certainly the beginning of the Edible Schoolyard Project at the 25th anniversary of the restaurant. But I think it's the idea that cooking needs to be really integrated into one's life. Being a professional cook, you need to have time to think. So, the idea of giving cooks time off and having them cook in the day or the night so that they can have time with their families, that has been the greatest inspiration to the longevity of the restaurant."
You've had numerous successes over the last 40 years, but what's been your biggest milestone or breakthrough?