The farm to fork movement is alive and well. More and more individuals are asking what’s in their food, where it came from, and how its producers are treated. However, many associate sustainable eating with male super-chefs Michael Pollen, Dan Barber, or Marcus Samuelsson. That’s all well and good, except male chefs are often touted as the creators of green eating, when its real founder is, in fact, a woman.
Hell yea she’s a lady, and her name is Alice Waters. As a college student at University of California, Berkeley, Waters studied abroad in Paris, and the rest is history, or should I say “her-story.” She admired the simple dishes, quality ingredients, and market-to table style of cafés. Inspired and reinvigorated, Alice opened her own restaurant, Chez Panisse, in 1971.
Chez Panisse brought a new concept to American cuisine. Each dish was named after its main ingredient, a list of the ingredients followed the name of the dish, and the informal atmosphere of the restaurant proved that upscale, quality dining didn’t have to be elitist.
The patriarchy. Male chefs are more popular because they exist in the public sphere. Like any other industries, the culinary world is represented by men. The private sphere of the home is left to women. Until relatively recently, women were banned from trade union associations, culinary competitions, culinary school, and excluded from fine dining restaurant venues.
Institutional sexism is the worst. Yet women like Alice Waters beat the odds, and still managed to launch a new concept of fresh, local, delicious cuisine. And so the next time you dip into your kale salad, or go to a restaurant featuring the seasonal pick of the day, thank the feminists who broke the accepted culinary mold and transformed eating as we know it.