Food, Home & Lifestyle

The Power of Food: The Edible Schoolyard

Alice Waters

Lesson time 04:23 min

Alice breaks down the five principles of her Edible Schoolyard Project to show that food is a powerful teacher. She encourages you to continue your edible education by shopping and cooking sustainably and remembering that food is precious.

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

Topics include: The Edible Schoolyard Project


I was called by Cathrine Sneed who runs a garden at the San Francisco County Jail. She called me about 20 years ago, a little bit more. She said will you buy the produce that we grow at the jail for shoe pennies? And I said, yes. I'll get the produce, if you grow it to our specifications. She said we will, but you have to come to the garden. And I said, I don't want to go to the garden. Please just send it to the restaurant. And she said, you must. Because my students want to talk to you. So I went. And she gathered them all around. And she said, tell Alice why you like the garden. And one young guy, probably 20, raised his hand. And he said, I probably shouldn't say anything, because it's my first day in the garden. But it's the best day of my life. That's what he said. And I said, oh my goodness, this is transformation. This has changed him. And I just said to myself, if you can do it in a jail, you can do it in school. And that was the inspiration for the Edible Schoolyard Project, just that. [PIANO MUSIC PLAYING] - So today's recipe is autumn harvest soup. And this is the perfect time of year to make this recipe, because these things that we're using today are all in season and they're at their peak of flavor, because we are on the hunt today for flavor. And we are gonna be using every single scrap of food that we can to pull the flavor out. I started the Edible Schoolyard Project more than 20 years ago, because food touches every one of our senses, which are the pathways into our minds. This is a school with 1,000 middle schoolers, who speak dozens of different languages and come from every imaginable economic background. So food is our shared language. It's this kind of empowerment that connects you with other people who are doing the same thing. And when we all get together, we are incredibly powerful. We can change the world. And it's-- it's like one plate at a time. Coming around the dinner table, having those conversations with your friends, cooking together are they ways that we find the common values. And-- and we can make something this great in the sum of the parts. I've distilled almost everything I know about cooking down to few principles, which you've seen in this class. They don't have to do with techniques or recipes, as much as finding the best sustainable ingredients. I believe that if you follow these principles, your cooking, your life, and our well-being on this planet will be transformed. That's my hope.

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.

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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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