Lesson time 15:06 min
Learn why the most iconic dessert at Chez Panisse is the most unembellished—the fruit bowl. Alice teaches you how to engage all of your senses to test ripeness and choose fruits at the peak of their season.
Topics include: Taste and Taste Again • Repurpose Unworthy Fruit • Expressing Seasonality • Finding Ripeness in Every Season
The idea of serving simply a bowl of fruit at Chez Panisse seems audacious to some people. But I embrace that audacity. You don't need a restaurant or a copper bowl. I challenge you to find what is perfectly in season and ripe, and then just slice it, taste it, and serve it. - The writer Michael Pollan came to the restaurant a while back, and he was looking down to the desserts at the restaurant, and he saw the galette, and he saw the profiteroles with huckleberry ice cream. And then he saw a fruit bowl. He said, it almost costs as much as the sweet desserts. What could this be? And at that time, it happened to be peach season. And so he had the peaches from Mas Masumoto's trees. And we had sorted peaches very, very carefully. And we only want the ones that really make an impression. So we had the peach there in slices. And he took one bite. And it was unforgettable for him. He talks about the fruit bowl all of the time. And that's exactly the effect I want to have. I'm going to put together a fruit bowl that we serve at Chez Panisse every day. It's about how we go about choosing the food that we serve at Chez Panisse, and the food that I cook at home. Now I have these persimmons-- the fuyu persimmons-- right in my backyard. I have two trees. And so I have the opportunity to pick the leaves from the trees. And they become part of this fruit bowl. And I just want to make sure that they are ripe. I always cut them and taste them. You're tasting, and you're tasting, and you're tasting. And food is a living thing. And so you really have to-- to know that after it's picked, it's always changing every day. And so you're always wanting to taste first. So I'm-- oh, I'm thinking definitely I want to put this on the fruit bowl. I, of course, at this moment in time, in the fall, I thought surely there are grapes. But I went looking for them. And in fact, there's only this varietal of grape. And when I take a really close look at it, I realize that it was picked some time ago. You can see the little stems have turned brown. And even though it's a beautiful organic fruit, it doesn't look alive to me. I'll taste it just to make sure that it's not worthy of the fruit bowl. But I love the look of it. I like different shapes. And so I brought it anyway. I think we will make these into sherbet. They are not good enough to put on the fruit bowl by themselves. In fact, they're a little tart. And for sherbet, that can be a very good thing, because you're adding sugar to it. And-- and then you can bring forth the taste a little bit more. Let's see what we'll put in there besides the persimmon. I think maybe a pear. Now again, there are many, many, many, varietals of pears, and of apples. This is a bosc pear. And it has a very distinctive texture. It's much more firm. It's much harder. But actually it's quite delicious, quite tasty. And it should be kind of juicy. You'll know whether a fruit is ripe just by tasting. I...
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.
I like what I have seen so far. I can't wait to go to the Farmer's Market. :)
I've learned how to use seasonal foods to make food more visually appealing. I've also learned how to make some simple yet inexpensive (and presumably tasty) dishes. Moreover, I've learned how to be a good host. This course reaffirmed my belief in using all of the five senses to make food.
I have a greater appreciation for so many things, from the ingredients in cooking, to the tools, to the practice.
I feel a connection to the beauty of food that I was aware of before, but somehow distant from. Alice has brought it home to me and into my heart. I’m incredibly inspired by and grateful for her gentle guidance.