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A Fruitful Chef

Alice Waters has been a visionary in the organic food movement since 1971, when she opened the doors at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. Her philosophy is to serve fresh food made with only the finest seasonal ingredients. Alice's latest book, "Chez Panisse Fruit", spotlights seasonal fruits and the myriad ways to enjoy them. FoodFit caught up with the author when she had a rare moment of free time.

FoodFit   What was your main reason for writing a book entirely on fruit?



We wrote a book entirely on vegetables and this seemed like the perfect companion. It's a subject that's important and fruit is seductive, so you can really entice people with it. We want to encourage people to eat locally and seasonally. Even though some of the fruits mentioned might not be available in your region, there will be another, equally delicious fruit that's in your area. You may not have peaches in South Dakota, but you will find something equally as delicious.

FoodFit   Many of the recipes in the book seem to be designed for a more experienced cook. What advice do you have for the novice who would like to experiment with some of the exotic fruits and multi-step recipes you have in "Chez Panisse Fruit"? Would you recommend a specific recipe to get started with?



Many of the recipes are very simple, like the strawberry sherbert—what could be easier? The book is really for cooks of all levels, from the novice to the more experienced. It should be inspirational as well and should encourage people to go out and try new fruits.

FoodFit   What is your favorite fruit and your tastiest way to enjoy it?



It's so tough to narrow it down to one, but I'm really excited about apricots right now and have been making Apricot Galettes. Mulberries are another current favorite of mine—I prefer fruits with a tart edge.

FoodFit   What's your fondest fruit memory?



Oh, my fondest fruit memory is of my mother canning rhubarb and apples. Another is the first time I tasted fraise des boix in France. They're intensely sweet, tiny wild strawberries—it was just the most unbelievable experience. I also really enjoyed picking figs and white peaches in Sonoma. It always seem as though the best ones are the ones that the birds and bees have already gotten to—you know the fruit is at its peak when that happens.

FoodFit   Sometimes it's tough to get kids to try new fruits. Any suggestions for how to entice them?



You really need to involve kids in the whole experience—take them to the local farmer's market and let them pick out the fruit. If you include kids in the cooking process, they won't be able to wait to try it.

I used to make fruit compote for Fanny with seasonal fruit and just a little orange juice for sauce. She loved it. Also, kids are just crazy about mandarins and tangerines because they're so easy for them to eat.


Make your own fruit memories with Alice's amazing recipes:

Meyer Lemon Lemonade
Blackberry and Gravenstein Apple Galette
Melon Gelato


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