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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.

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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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.

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 have learned that alice waters is delightful and charming and i would love to work with her in person!

I like what I have seen so far. I can't wait to go to the Farmer's Market. :)

I came to learn the love of cooking. Getting there:) It was a great class!

I loved the way she used the available ingredients to make her dinner without a real recipe to follow.


Sue C.

I loved the MC with Alice Waters! She is such a delight to listen to and learn from. I watched the whole class in one setting. I just could not stop. It was relaxing and quite informative. I also love that she is working with schools and teaching young folks about food and the beautiful relationship we can have with food.

Leilani C.

Alice Waters is incredibly inspirational. Her lessons were so soothing, delightful and just beautiful. I learned so much from this class and I feel like I definitely got an upgrade in my cooking. I was inspired to find the local farms in my area and have already found immense joy and satisfaction in supporting my community while providing my family with delicious quality meals!

Taya H.

I think this has been my favourite MC so far. I found the content useful - high level enough to apply into my everyday practice but detailed enough to leave me with some good "ah-ha" nuggets. Alice was relatable in a way that deeply inspired me.

Juliana V.

I enjoyed it very much. Alice Waters is a delight. I am just now finishing her memoir as I'm finishing the Master Class. I recommend it to anyone who is working their way through the course. I found the background material was helpful in putting into context Ms. Waters' personal philosophy and the lovely Zen-like thoughtful care she applies to the surprisingly simple act of preparing food. Her favorite word—beautiful. Yes. Isn't it.


I'm officially inspired! What a beautiful way to look at food, cooking, and hosting. Alice really loves all aspects of food and it shows in her passion with this course. My husband and I have already been applying some of her concepts in our kitchen and we have an updated list of kitchen tools to collect, as well.

Teresa M.

Absolutely loved, inspirational in both personal and larger community ways, thank you.

A fellow student

This class is so moving and inspirational. As Alice said (paraphrased), once you see food in this way you will never look at it the same way again. I am excited to be more intentional in my food choices and creation. Thank you!!!

krystel M.

This was PERFECTION. I'm a food lover, I love to learn about food. Alice verbally said everything that I fondly believe. I now want to buy every book she has published. I love that you can print the workbook and have it forever. Thank you for this it made my year.

Karen F.

I started this class thinking it would be my least favorite as I don't love a lot of vegetables, but Alice shows a passion, a love of ingredients that made me FEEL her passion. Her grace, elegance and appreciation for the process is inspiring. I will try to slow down as she described and appreciate the bounty of in season foods, farmers markets etc. What a wonderful MASTERCLASS. Thank you Alice and Fanny!


What a Beautiful Person! So touching…I feel like food should be a hug. Someone commented earlier that she had change the way she looked at food..I get it. I do not regret this much to take from this. Not only cooking but the way we connect. Thank you!