On August 28, 1968, Chez Panisse opened its doors. Look what Alice Waters started! I haven't been up there to eat yet—the day I arrived in Berkeley with my friend, Suvir, Chez Panisse was closed, and we were forced to eat next door at César. (Everyone should suffer this kind of deprivation. César was fabulous.)
I know Alice Waters has her detractors, and that not everyone is her fan, but I am an admirer. I got to meet her and photograph her two years ago, at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood. It was a sweltering day, and I loaned her my giant umbrella to keep the sun off. It was nearly as big as she was. It's well known that Alice is one of the biggest fans of Al Courchesne's peaches, and the dinner was in the middle of one of his orchards.
Photographing Alice that day was a challenge: she had so many cameras in her face you'd have thought she was the Playmate of the Month. Actually, the Playmate of the Month that day was the perfect Cal Red peach served to each guest at the end of the meal. And she wandered down to our end of the long table as twilight deepened, and talked to us about the program she'd initiated to have all California elementary schools have a garden.