Food, Home & Lifestyle

Coming Back to the Table

Alice Waters

Lesson time 12:32 min

Learn how a life-changing trip to France led Alice from the frozen dinners of her childhood to pioneering the farm-to-table movement.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Gather 'Round Homemade and Delicious Food • Awaken Your Senses


When I was in France the first time, I was 19. And I really hadn't eaten before in any profound way. And it was an awakening. It was an awakening of my senses. And it happened because it was a slow food country. I mean, people took their time. They cared about what they ate. And I was fascinated by it. And they could spend hours at the table in the evening talking-- talking about politics, talking about just what had happened to them during the day-- and enjoying the whole meal, the courses that they got. It was always portioned out in such a beautiful way. And I was brought into that life and was happy to sit in the cafe in the afternoon and watch the world go by. And we're just in such a rush right now that we miss the beauty and we miss the friendship. - I just wrote a memoir, and so I've reflected probably the first time in my life on what it was to grow up in New Jersey. And I tried to think about what my childhood was like and how that brought me to this place that I am right now. And my parents had a victory garden. I didn't know that I was being adequately educated in a way by sitting out in the victory garden and eating a warm strawberry in the summer. I had no idea, but I have a strong memory of that. And I played all day long out in nature. We didn't have a television, so we just played outside. So we always had to come to the table at 7 o'clock at night, and we all ate dinner together. And the only unfortunate part was my mother wasn't a very good cook, but she cared about our nutrition. She cared about us, and she just didn't have the information about really what was incredibly healthy. And the culture of fast food was just then feeding her the wrong ideas about frozen TV dinners and all of the rest. I think we really do want to gather, but it's so much easier when the food on the table is homemade and delicious. When you're cooking, your hand making the food. And your friends can feel that, they know that you made that ravioli for them. That you did it with your own hands. You made your own bread. You tore the leaves of the salad. It's very different than when you order food in and you don't pay attention to where it came from. And that's what going to the farmer's market does too. You're connecting with a person who actually grew food or took care of those chickens and brought those beautiful eggs. And it enriches your life. And it is my hope that all of you will understand this. Many of you may already understand it, but I know that if I could just give you that perfect peach-- if I could give that to you, you would really understand. - When I was growing up, setting the table was my job. It's still one of my favorite things to do. Setting the table with intention, even for everyday meals, communicates so much. I always like to set the table first. In fact, very often I set in the afternoon of a dinner that's happening in the evening because it gives me the reassurance that things will look good wh...

About the Instructor

Alice Waters started America’s farm-to-table revolution. When she founded the iconic restaurant Chez Panisse, her local, organic ingredients sparked a movement and earned her the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. In her first-ever online cooking class, Alice opens the doors of her home kitchen to teach you how to pick seasonal ingredients, create healthy and beautiful meals, and change your life by changing the food you make at home.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Alice Waters

In 16+ lessons, learn to cook beautiful, seasonal meals at home from the James Beard Award-winning founder of Chez Panisse.

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