3-Minute Interview: Alice Waters

The legendary chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, also an advocate for nutrition education for children, will be honored at the first Help Raise Healthy Children Gala on Monday at San Francisco City Hall. The gala, with dinner and performances by Jennifer Hudson and composer Marvin Hamlisch, will benefit Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation, which creates programs in public schools, as well as three local hospitals.

What’s the significance of this event for you? We need a program in public school system that educates children and brings them into a relationship with food from kindergarten. I’m very pleased that we have a program that has really inspired these wonderful philanthropists to bring money to this experiment. It gives value to the work that we’ve been doing for the last 11 years.

How will profits be used by the Chez Panisse Foundation? We wantto build more model programs around the country. But really we want to bring national attention — we want to inform and inspire the people who run this country so that they can make the decisions to educate our children in a delicious way, in a positive way, not in a punishing way.

Do you think other chefs should be involved in fighting childhood obesity or other food-related causes? I think everybody should be involved. Other chefs because they have high profiles — if they buy from the right people, they provoke people to think about these issues. That’s what happened with Chez Panisse for 30-plus years.

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