The legendary chef and owner of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse and pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Alice Waters came to the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum on Friday for the ongoing Food and Film Series.
In conjunction with the UCLA Film and Television Archive and the Hammer Museum, the “Amuse Bouche” screening offered a sampling menu of short films from around the world with a special prix fixe dinner inspired by the films at her Lulu restaurant in the museum’s courtyard.
Director Megan Martinez Goltz of the 11-minute Historias de Cultura: Oaxaca en Santa Cruz visited with Waters during the three-course dinner that included a bitter winter green salad with pomegranate seeds from Lulu chef David Tanis, as well as chicken paillard with mashed potatoes and onion rings followed by caramel profiteroles for dessert.
“Cooking reminds me of being in my land” is the opening remark in Goltz’s film about food, the recipes that are passed down through generations, and the tastes of Oaxaca found in Santa Cruz.
Other films that have been part of the ongoing series include the 1937 French film Harvest, about farmers in a remote hilltop village in France and King Vidor’s 1934 Our Daily Bread about Depression-era farmers.
For years, Waters was looking for the right museum to partner with using locally sourced ingredients and an in to the University of California system in a massive effort to improve food choices on college campuses and to shift to more sustainable and local food sources.
First on the prolific author’s agenda (after visiting her new granddaughter and daughter, writer Fanny Singer, who live in Los Angeles) is knocking on the door of University of California President Dr. Michael V. Drake, who oversees the 10 campus chancellors, for a light lunch and chat about how to change the way that California students eat and her passion project, the Edible Schoolyard.
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