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A Visit To Chez Panisse With Amanda Marsalis

If you love food, Chez Panisse in Berkeley is a Mecca and restaurateur, author and food activist Alice Waters is an inspiration. The leader of the California cuisine movement, Waters has been a culinary trailblazer every step of the way. Our friend Amanda Marsalis, the mastermind behind our Holiday '16 lookbook, conceived of a photography project to capture the magic—and essence—that is Chez Panisse, and we're thrilled to be selling her new book in stores and now available online. 


What's your personal connection to Chez Panisse?

I grew up in the Bay Area so I have known of Chez Panisse my whole life.  I fist met them when I was hired by Vogue to shoot at The Edible School Yard.  Our relationship grew from there.  Alice asked me to shoot the restaurant when it reopened after the fire in 2013.  Not long after that I asked them if I could shoot a few days each season for a year and they agreed! 

What makes the food so inherently photographable?

Well they used incredible ingredients.  And the make simple beautiful food that let the ingredients speak for themselves.  

Were there any particular challenges shooting the book?

Mostly not getting in the way in the kitchen! 

How did Edible Schoolyard come on board and how are they currently involved?

The Edible School Yard Project was started by Alice, when my friend Mark Ankner, who published the book with me, started talking about publishing the book we wanted to honor the time I spent at Chez Panisse by giving back to something she loves.  

How do you/did you separate "everything that comes before the cookbook" for this book?

When I conceived the project I wanted to make a visual diary of the day to day at Chez Panisse.  Everything that goes into what makes it such a special place.  I’m not a chef.  It is not for me to make a cookbook.  The book is to share my love of the place and the people who make it what it is.  

What do you hope to achieve/convey with this book?

Well first off that we sell all the book so we can contribute to as much as possible The Edible School Yard Project.  But also that the viewer is inspired by the craftsmanship that goes into Chez Panisse and it affects their life in a positive way.  

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