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Leaves, Herbs, and Aromatics

Alice Waters

Lesson time 08:29 min

Fresh herbs are an essential element in Alice’s cooking. Learn how she uses tender and strong herbs for different dishes, and how she finds use for the whole plant—not just the leaves.

Alice Waters
Teaches The Art of Home Cooking
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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ALICE WATERS: Tending to plants changing throughout the seasons is a delicious meditation for me. It's deeply satisfying to harvest, prepare, and eat food that you've grown yourself. These are bay leaves. It's something else that I think about, is having trees in my garden that don't need a lot of care. I can't believe I've got these beautiful Meyer lemons still on the tree. These are the sweet lemons. It's a varietal that seems to grow extremely well in gardens all around Berkeley. And I just love to be going out and picking them, but these are the last two. I don't have a huge tree, but I love having the leaves of the citrus and I have a Kaffir lime. I rarely get limes, but I get these incredible leaves. And they can be used, like in a curry. They're very interesting looking, these. We're going to roast the squash in the oven on the Kaffir lime leaves. And then of course, there's bay, beautiful bay. Aromatic as well, indispensable, and stalks. Beautiful aroma, again, I throw it in the fireplace when it gets dry. Perfumes the whole room. We have made this rather delicious bay leaf custard. Cream custard, again, seeping the leaves in the actual cream. And it takes on perfume. We do this very often at Chez Panisse, and the fig leaves. One of the great ice creams that I love at the restaurant actually came from the chef, Russell Moore. He burns these leaves in the fireplace, and then you put them in the cream. And you have a taste of almost like toasted coconut. Almost like that flavor. We wrap fish in the fig leaves and put it on the grill, or it can actually go right in a pan over the fire. And another thing we do is take goat cheese, wrap it in the fig leaves, and bake it in the oven. So I'm thinking all the time about how to use all the parts of the plant. Now I have a very small garden. Maybe about 10 feet by 10 feet. I want to grow things that I can't find in the farmer's market. I can find things like garlic and I can find these beautiful radicchios at the farmer's market, but it's very difficult for me to find some of the really fragile herbs. And I want to be able to go out in the garden and just grab them when I can. And I have chives, and I have parsley. Indispensable parsley and cilantro, coriander, I use them all the time. And so I have a lot of that going. And I love to make Salsa Verde with these herbs. And you need quite a bit to do that. Probably the herbs that I go after every evening are the mint and I have lemon verbena in the summer and in the fall. In the winter, it dies back and I cannot make that mix of tea that I love to have at the end of dinner. I take some boiling water and I pour it over the fresh mint leaves. And if possible, a little bit of lemon verbena. And I let it sit for a few minutes and then I serve that at the end of practically every meal that I have at home. And it's a part of the ritual of Chez Panisse as well, to give that sort of taste of freshness at the end of a long ...

Farm-to-table cooking

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.


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

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.

Alice's passion for food is very contagious, and I am inspired to start a garden and visit farmer's markets. Thank you Alice!

Alice Waters is in a class and almost era, all her own. I had the pleasure of meeting her briefly in Seattle at my nephew's school. She values every detail and that's what makes her cooking and outlook so exquisite. I have a veggie and fruit garden myself and am further inspired to eat with the seasons and honor the planet, one delicious bite at at time...

Totally enjoyable, informative, inspiring and I hope we see more of Alice Waters on Masterclass.


Joyce S.

The way Alice Waters cooks is so peaceful ..I enjoy the idea of your hands being a tool. Love her discussion of spices and how to use them..the cumin salt will be on my kitchen counter soon.


Really enjoyed this lesson! I have never pickled anything and I will try now. I also want to try the pancakes making my own oat flour.

A fellow student

I can't wait to make the pancakes with homemade oat flour. Making oat flour was very new to me. Freezing over ripe fruits to use later is a great idea. I love watching these episodes. Makes me feel like I'm in Alice's kitchen. Thank you.

I've sauted kale, chard and beet greens, but not frisee as of yet. And that has to have been the most stress free pancakes cooked that I have seen! Beautiful episode.


I consider these lessons like an intimate conversation with Alice. She is sharing her philosophy on food and its significance to life, relationships, even objects. These are not didactic structured classes; they are chats with a new friend over a tisane.

A fellow student

I can't wait to make the wilted kale and frisbee. I will put it on the next shopping list. I also love the pancake batter that looks so easy with a fruit sauce/comote.

Stephanie T.

I am struggling to wait for my groceries which will be delivered in 2 weeks so I constant making some of these / most of these dishes she has shown us so far, with fresh farm products.

Barbara E.

You can sense the smell and texture of the foods she handles. Amazing. I like simplicity and freshness but its the ingredients that count. Im learning about that piece of cooking so I can pay more attention to the ingredients. Excellent.

A fellow student

I've been loving Alice's instructions... She makes it feel so simple to do elegant things in the kitchen. can't wait to see more!

A fellow student

Amazing content - I love pancakes (the forbidden delight to those of us who are weight conscious), I love the use of all things that are no longer in the perfect stage of edibility (frozen to make a delicious paste/syrup for the pancakes. I do so hate wasting the edibles that took such effort and nurturing to bring to the market. I always over-purchase in my glee of the abundance I see. This will help me temper my sadness that some got too ripe too early to be eaten “as is.” Thanks for all the fresh cooking ideas, i.e. the greens, the picked vegetables, that will make full use of ingredients for later meals. Love it!