Who, you ask?
Alice Waters is my foodie hero.
As a young woman she studied in Berkeley and a spent a semester in France. She was very inspired by fresh, local, seasonal eating and brought this home with gusto to the East Bay.
In 1971 she opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Her restaurant can be credited for a conscious move toward sustainable, seasonal, California cuisine.
She has since penned many amazing cookbooks, including my favorite The Art of Simple Food. Like a warm and loving aunt, she walks you through the process of stocking a kitchen pantry, to cooking basics. This book really gave me motivation and confidence to step back and let the ingredients lead.
Check out her work getting organic gardens and food into schools with her foundation, The Edible Schoolyard.
I read Thomas McNamee's book last year, Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, and recommend it to you too. She's lovely, and I promise you'll want to cook and eat and romance after just a few pages.
"Handling living food is so inspiring and energizing it makes you want to cook. You will never get tired of washing lettuce if it is beautiful to look at."