Chez Panisse, the first farm-to-table restaurant in the US, was established by Alice Waters in Berkeley, California, in 1971. The renowned chef, author, and advocate of slow food is still at the forefront of change more than 50 years later, and her influence has spread across the globe.

It all started with a straightforward vision. In contrast to the then-expanding industrialized and fast-food offerings in the US, Waters wanted to provide consumers with delicious food and the experience of a tiny restaurant. Her inspiration for this came from a trip she took to France while she was in her 20s. “We were encouraged by the spirit of the time. It was sort of after the Free Speech Movement, Civil Rights. And, you know, we had a lot of power over stopping the war in Vietnam. No one was interested in making money,” Waters said. Despite any initial lack of profitability, Chez Panisse appeared destined to succeed greatly and has continued to this day with a daily menu that only uses fresh, local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. Waters believes that radical change is required since food security and climate change are at a critical moment. She believes that the solution extends beyond eating more sustainably. She says that in its place, we must promote “regenerative” farming practices, boost biodiversity, and enhance regional ecosystems.

Despite the passage of 50 years, Waters’ desire to harness the potential of food to improve our quality of life is still strong. She is concentrating on this tasty revolution.