Chef Alice Waters Coming to Scripps

Courtesy of Mary Weis and Suzanne ZetterbergDirector of Constituent Relations and Director of Malott Commons

The Roxanne Wilson Leader-in-Residence Program endowment was funded by the Board of Trustees, family, colleagues and friends of Roxanne Wilson ‘(76) to honor her five year tenure as Chair of the Scripps College Board of Trustees. Her term concluded on June 30, 2009, and since most of the gifts and pledges to the endowment were raised by that date, the Board could present her with this parting gift at the June 2009 Board dinner.

The mission of the program is to bring to campus women who demonstrate leadership in both their professional lives and their volunteer work, as Wilson has in her career as a successful attorney, and through her long-term commitment to volunteer service at her alma mater and to other nonprofits in the Los Angeles area. The committee’s hope is to secure leaders with an interdisciplinary skill set who can discuss different paths to leadership and the overarching meaning of leadership from their perspective.

Several outstanding women who fit this criteria were considered by the committee for the inaugural Leader-in-Residence. Alice Waters—chef, author, social entrepreneur and proprietor of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California—stood out as a uniquely compelling role model. She is a pioneer of a culinary philosophy based on using only the freshest organic products. Over the course of 39 years, Chez Panisse has developed a network of local suppliers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of pure, fresh ingredients. She has also been committed to the nonprofit world through education and The Edible Schoolyard, a one-acre garden and an adjacent kitchen classroom at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California. The Edible Schoolyard, started in 1996, is a model public education program that gives 1,000 students the knowledge and values they need to build a humane and sustainable future by actively involving them in all aspects of the food cycle. The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, which has as its national agenda the integration of a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all the public schools in the United States.

Since so many Scripps students are involved in various community garden projects on campus and in the broader Claremont community, the committee felt they would have a particular interest in hearing more about Waters’ experiences developing The Edible Schoolyard, as well as her commitment to sustainable agriculture and a sustainable future for us all. We were delighted that she accepted our offer, and that Chino Farms in Rancho Santa Fe, one of the primary produce suppliers for Chez Panisse, will be joining us for an opening lunch that features some of their organic produce. A few Scripps students who are involved in community garden projects will work with Food Service to prepare the lunch.

Waters is Vice President of Slow Food International, a nonprofit organization that promotes and celebrates local artisanal food traditions and has 100,000 members in over 130 countries. Alice is the author of eight books, including “The Art of Simple Food: Notes and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution” and her most recent book, “In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart.”

A tea in honor of Ms. Waters, hosted by President Bettison-Varga, will take place at 3 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Revelle House. A lottery will be held in early November to select the 35 students who will be invited to join Waters at the tea. Students who are included in the opening lunch, or who are attending the afternoon class with Waters, will be ineligible to participate in the lottery. Waters will give a presentation to the Scripps community that evening at 8 p.m. in Garrison Theater. The event will be free and open to the public.