Culinary Arts

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.
Get All-Access


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.

This class has probably changed my life more than any other class I've taken. I use the lessons in this class daily and it has truly helped the quality of my life and my family's lives. I am so relieved to understand the kitchen and not just be intimidated by it.

i have made two appel gallants, and love this wonderful lady.

What I really loved about Alice's course was the attention to choosing outstanding ingredients.

I absolutely loved this class. Alice Waters cooks in such a beautifully simple and honest way that it feels very doable for the lay person.


Donna V.

Love the personal take and cadence of the presentation .. One question I have is the use of Salt in cooking. While I love the taste of good French Sea Salt - I am on a salt restricted diet and very often cook completely without salt. What other spices and herbs can be substituted to bring out flavors rather than salt?


Awesome classes, kudos for the ones I have till now made (Massimo Bottura and now Alice Waters). Thank you so much!

Maria E.

I am learning so much from Alice. Wonderful. Cannot wait to try some of these.

Rocio T.

My favorite chapter! I had bought greens that day and went home to watch this, so I made my greens following her instructions, not recipe, instructions... they tasted like from a fancy restaurant. Am I becoming a chef?? thanks Alice! delicious combination with the vinegar it really gives my veggies a kick.

Rocio T.

I am so enchanted by this class. Alice is a great connoisseur, or connoisseuse I rather say, but also so warm and sweet and homey. Someone wrote that he feels at home with granny, I do feel at home with mommy :-) and I also learn because I never cooked with herbs until I lived in the Middle East and got to know the wonders they bring to a normal cooking like mine. Still I'm not a pro but I love the way she brings it all like someone who really knows her metier would and I keep learning and I smile when I see her.

A fellow student

I have many herbs growing in my garden and love to cook with them. Every pot of soup has a handful of herbs in it - depending on what is growing well. But for some reason, I never make a tea, even though I have many mints, lemon balm,and lemon grass. I will plan to end the day with a tisane of some of these herbs..Thank you!

Josianne B.

Love learning about herbs. Seriously thinking about growing pots of fresh herbs in my window sill.

Cheska A.

I love this class in home cooking. It's so accessible and takes the fear out of doing it yourself. Hope also have a class on gardening! This is so encouraging :) I also hope you'll have a class on the Ketogenic Diet or Cooking Vegan. More power!

Ami G.

Although I’ve gardened all my life, sadly I never just grabbed a bunch at the end of a day and made tea. I will do this now. Thank you.

A fellow student

Ms Waters I am enjoying your Master Class so much, I am going to experiment more with herbs and plant an herb garden. I am also excited to try the herbal teas you talked about. 7 lessons completed and I can't wait to start #8. Thank you !!