Alice Louise Waters (born April 28, 1944 in Chatham, New Jersey) is an American chef and co-owner of Chez Panisse, the original "California Cuisine" restaurant in Berkeley, California, as well as the informal Café Fanny in West Berkeley. A champion of locally-grown and fresh ingredients, she has been credited with creating and developing California Cuisine and has written or co-written several books on the subject, including the influential Chez Panisse Cooking (written with then-chef Paul Bertolli). She has also promoted organic and small farm products heavily in her restaurants, in her books, and in her Edible Schoolyard program at the King Middle School in Berkeley. Her ideas for "edible education" have been introduced into the entire Berkeley school system, and with the current crisis in childhood obesity, have attracted the attention of the national media. She is a leading advocate of a multi-billion dollar stimulus package that works to give every child in the public school system free breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. She states that taxpayers should endorse this package because we are already paying for it in terms of our health.
Waters advocates eating locally produced foods that are in season, because she believes that the international shipment of mass-produced food is both harmful to the environment and produces an inferior product for the consumer.
Waters' interest in the possibilities of fresh local ingredients were inspired by her visit to France in the summer of 1964 and, especially, a particular meal she had in Brittany.