Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook

by Alice Waters

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Original Publisher
Random House
Date of publication

Recommended by

Sally Vincent

Blogger at Raining Sideways

A list of my favourite cookbooks would not be complete without Alice Waters. Her influence on good food from Berkely, California right across the USA and her support for the Slow Food Movement across the world is legendary. I count myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to eat at Chez Panisse where they “ try to interfere as little as possible with the transition of good and pure ingredients from their origins to the table…” a notion reflected so well in this book.

Laura Washburn Hutton

Food writer

I have never been to the restaurant but this book, organized by menu, makes me feel like I have. Or could pretend if I dared to tackle the cooking. That said, many of the recipes are actually very simple. But the real charm of this book is in seeing the menu compositions, each of which is a small masterpiece. Notable recipes: Salt cod bouillabaise, Salade Nicoise, Goat Cheese Soufflé.

Alexis Gauthier

Chef and owner of Gauthier Soho

Before Alice waters it was unheard of for restaurants to consider the seasons or provenance of ingredients in their menus. Her restaurant preceded everything. Before Alain Ducasse, before ‘farm to table’, before today’s de-rigeur ’local-n-seasonal’ menus, there was a lady in Berkeley who just saw this style as the most obvious reaction to a food world that had become industrialised.

Lucy Malouf

Food writer and editor

Alice Waters’ groundbreaking cookbooks all still feel so utterly contemporary, with their focus on simplicity and on seasonal, locally sourced produce, that it’s hard to believe she’s been writing, cooking, teaching and advocating for forty years. This book is one of my favourites, as an endless inspiration for putting together wonderfully appealing and enticing menus.

Diana Henry

Award-winning food writer and author. Columnist at The Sunday Telegraph

For me this was a life-changing book. Simple, seasonal cooking, a Mediterranean spirit applied to whatever ingredients are grown or farmed near you. A delicious shiver went down my spine when I first leafed through this in a bookshop (during the reign of nouvelle cuisine). The menus were daring in their simplicity.

Sybil Kapoor

Writer and broadcaster

Still reads as fresh as when I started cooking from it in 1986. It remains a source of inspiration with her exquisite seasonal menus and I still use many of the recipes - a true test of a great book.

John Birdsall

Food Writer

Distills the intelligence and playfulness of a movement that changed American food in the late 20th century. Jeremiah Tower goes essentially uncredited, though much of the book reflects him.

Betty Fussell


The generative book in creating America's New Cuisine of local, fresh, seasonal by applying French Regional methods to the particularities of Berkeley CA.

Sara Jenkins

chef/owner Porsena & Porchetta

a great reference as a young cook for how to organize a menu seasonally which wasn't something every one did when I was starting out

Fran Warde


Honest and real recipes.

Colman Andrews

Food writer and editor

Jayne Cohen

Cookbook author and food journalist

Ruth Rogers

American born British Chef who owns and runs the Michelin Star Italian restaurant, The River Cafe

Andrew Blake

Owner and chef, Blakes Feast

Theo Randall

Chef/Patron of Theo Randall at the InterContinental

Joanne Weir

Chef, cookbook author and television personality

Mina Holland

Author and Editor