2000s Archive

Local Pioneers

chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse

Alice Waters of Chez Panisse revolutionized the movement to eat locally and in season.


Alan Wong’s Restaurant

Wong goes all-out in his attempt to give diners an authentic Hawaiian experience, sourcing his ingredients from a long list of island farmers and ranchers. And in true Hawaiian fashion, he mixes and matches culinary cultures—powering his sashimi of farm-raised moi with Japanese myoga, mitsuba, and wasabi oil, for example, and topping his Maui beef with a black bean and foie gras purée. Wong’s new pastry chef, Michelle Karr, does stunning work with chocolate made from Hawaii-grown cacao beans, and the last sips of the evening are of carefully chosen local coffees. 1857 S. King St., Honolulu (808-949-2526)

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Ensconced on a former Rockefeller estate in the impossibly sylvan rolling countryside about an hour north of New York City, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is as much a classroom as it is a restaurant. Chef and co-owner Dan Barber delights in bounding around the property showing visitors the hogs penned in rotating areas of the woods, explaining the way the sheep and the chickens each perform their function in “rolling pasturage,” or plucking the first squash and tomatoes from their vines. But the proof, as always, is on the plate. And when you taste an egg gathered that morning, perfectly poached, draped with lardo from one of the Stone Barns Center’s own pigs, and perched on a medley of beans and greens grown on the property, you’ll know that this place is not just about theory. It’s about really delicious food. 630 Bedford Rd., Pocantico Hills, NY (914-366-9600)

Chez Panisse

When many of the chefs who worship at the local, seasonal altar were still sitting in their high chairs, Alice Waters was out in the country begging farmers to grow special produce to use in her restaurant. Today, Chez Panisse continues to serve a single, ever-changing prix fixe menu every night that is entirely determined by what is being harvested at this moment. From the start, her menu cautioned, “If available,” reminding patrons of the vagaries of the market. It still does. 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA (510-548-5525)


When Greens opened in 1979, vegetarian restaurants got no respect in America. Greens changed that by proving how sophisticated a meatless meal could be. Connected to the Zen Center and its Green Gulch farms, this bayside restaurant has always seemed geared to the pure of heart. Building A, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco (415-771-6222)

Henrietta’s Table

At Henrietta’s Table, in The Charles Hotel, diners can take home “baseball” cards that bear the likenesses of area farmers. Dishes like soufflé-light Maine rock crab cake and a wedge of iceberg lettuce drizzled with creamy Massachusetts blue cheese dressing reflect chef Peter Davis’s longtime commitment to New England cooking. Whitewashed wooden walls decorated with farm photographs and tools create a countrified retreat in the middle of busy Harvard Square. The Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St., Cambridge, MA (617-661-5005)

Subscribe to Gourmet