When Alice Waters first peeked into the house she eventually
bought, she was crushed to see that the kitchen was the size of
For the owner of Chez Panisse, one of the country’s
premier restaurants, a generous kitchen and eating area was essential.
The quaint, wisteria-covered Victorian bungalow had other excellent
features, so the decision was made to buy the house and remodel
Once the “bones” of the new kitchen were in place, Alice began to
refine the details. She knew she wanted a timeless, old-world
ambiance for the kitchen –Provence, rather than California –with
plenty of space for hand—preparing fresh food. Her straightforward
kitchen philosophy centers on involvement with food through the
senses—not just smell and taste. Instead of gleaming, high-tech
equipment, Alice relies on basic tools: sharp knives, simple
copper pots, and iron skillets.
Here is what Alice Waters has that we would give our eyeteeth to
have in *our* home kitchens:
The room’s[ piece de resistance] is a large, brick cook-in fireplace. At waist level, the open fireplace has a Tuscan grill and a rotisserie for meat. Folding metal doors can be closed if the fireplace is cold. When Alice finishes cooking, the ashes fall to a lower compartment for easy collection; the hot ash pile can be used to cook truffles or potatoes. Eventually, the ashes are spread in a backyard vegetable garden.
Alice uses her fireplace continually in winter, for everything from grilling fresh vegetables to making toast. At one side of the fireplace is a wood-burning oven for baking bread or pizza. Everything cooked in the oven has a delicious smoky flavor that family and friends love.
Because Alice dislikes the modern look of stainless steel, Alice had copper panels made to slip on the front of her Sub-Zero refrigerator. More copper shows up in the custom-made, extra-deep trough sink. “I love to work in this sink, washing vegetables or salad, because it’s both reflective and very warm looking,” says Alice.
A small, galvanized bucket sits beside the sink for vegetable scraps that are composted daily. Alice’s unqualified commitment to reuse and recycle means that other containers are close at hand in her kitchen – there’s even a cloth tote for collecting plastic produce bags.