Chef Alice Waters Honored With Innovators Award At 2018 Fog

Alice Waters and Christina Kim at the Innovators Luncheon at Fog
Alice Waters and Christina Kim at the Innovators Luncheon at Fog

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Chef and founder of the California cuisine movement, Alice Waters, was celebrated late last week as a part of the fifth-annual Fog Design + Art Fair. At a special luncheon in her honor, Waters was presented the Innovators Award by Fog’s steering committee, a group of local luminaries including Douglas Durkin, Stanlee Gatti, Roth Martin, Katie Paige, Allison Speer, and Susan Swig. Past honorees include Instragam founders and acclaimed architect, Sir David Adjaye. However, Waters was the focal point of the lunch—which was hosted by Fendi and catered by A16—and she spoke in conversation with her longtime friend Christina Kim, the founder of design house Dosa.

Stanlee Gatti, Katie Paige, Douglas Durkin, Allison Speer, Alice Waters, Susan Swig, Christina Kim and Roth Martin
Stanlee Gatti, Katie Paige, Douglas Durkin, Allison Speer, Alice Waters, Susan Swig, Christina Kim and Roth Martin

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

“Alice, we’re here to celebrate your innovative spirit, both in the food world and for the way you approach everything you do, with commended gratuity and authenticity—from your creation of Chez Panisse to your commitment to Slow Food International to your tireless work with the Edible School Yard,” Kim said in a moving introduction tribute. “You have watched how we all think about food, absolutely about what we’re eating but also who we are supporting. You started the food revolution when you opened Chez Panisse in those early ’70s and since then you have continued to disrupt the status quo in so many ways—as a food activist, writer, humanitarian, and the best of the best in hospitality. You taught us that food is just not something we can eat, it’s a way of life. Alice Waters and Chez Panisse are pure magic. There is no other place like it—and you Alice, you painted this picture, created this installation, you made it happen.”

Alice Waters poses with her award, a fog machine.
Alice Waters poses with her award, a fog machine.

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Kim was joined by the ethereal Waters, who was incredibly emotional throughout their 30-minute chat. She sounded like she was on the verge of tears, but held her composure. “I have to say that I’m very touched by this award. I’ve never received one like this with art and design. And, to have all my friends and amazing artists in this room, I’ve been part of the collaboration,” Waters said. She and Kim went on to discuss various partnerships and dinners that they have hosted around the world with Waters overseeing the food and Kim in charge of the table setting. Waters spoke about her lifelong mission of feeding children through Edible Schoolyard—“You probably all know that I am incredibly impatient. I want something to happen now. And the public school system is our last truly democratic institution. You can reach every child when they’re young and they’re impressionable. So I said to myself, let’s do that”—and was candid about being fired from a job as a Montessori school teacher.

The beautiful setting
The beautiful setting

Photo Credit: Drew AltizerSince the discussion touched on how art is important to celebratory meals, the setting for the lunch was stunning and artsy. The back room at Fort Mason was transformed into an elegant dining room with rectangular tables surrounding the small stage. Fendi’s team worked with Gatti to create the luxe-cool look of the luncheon. Chestnut-colored wood tables were set with colorful paper placemats. The placemats featured new prints—chic plaid, oversized chevron, and tropical leaves—that are a part of Fendi’s 2018 spring ready-to-wear collection. It was a stylish way to incorporate the brand. Instead of floral arrangements, lush greenery—palm fronds, banana leafs, etc—ran down the center of each table. Menus doubled as placards with each guest’s name elegantly lettered at the top.

A place setting
A place setting

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The delicious food paid tribute to Waters. The first course featured a rendition of her signature warm goat cheese salad with a helping of A16’s delicious burrata and prosciutto. The second course was duck two ways—seared breast and melt-in-your-mouth confit—with sauted black kale and huckleberries. For dessert? Meyer lemon creampuffs, an assortment of cookies and candies, and tangerines. It was simple elegant food very true to Waters’ style. A16’s Shelly Lindgren poured two of Waters’ favorite wines‚ a Sancerre from the Loire Valley and a red blend from Provence.

Farah Makras and Mary Beth Shimmon
Farah Makras and Mary Beth Shimmon

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Proceeds from the luncheon benefited the SFMOMA and the crowd was an interesting mixture of society fixtures, art lovers, and foodies. Mary Beth Shimmon, Farah Makras, Dr. Carolyn Chang, and Lisa Zabelle—regulars on the scene—all looked gorgeous in dresses, furs, and tops by Fendi. The San Francisco Chronicle’s long time critic, Michael Bauer, mingled with guests as did his partner, IfOnly’s Michael Murphy. Kaitlyn Krieger and Sabrina Buell were fashionable PYTs. At the end of her talk Waters reminded the group that a truly successful meal—be it a dinner in freezing cold Switzerland or a lunch by the Bay in San Francisco—is “about being in the moment. Spend our lives and certainly when you’re really serving the food of that night, you are connecting in a way to the natural world.”

Sabrina Buell
Sabrina Buell

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Christina Kim and Alice Waters
Christina Kim and Alice Waters

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Atmosphere
Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Alice Waters
Alice Waters

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Alice Waters
Alice Waters

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Lisa Zabelle
Lisa Zabelle

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

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