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Alice Waters Knows How to Return a Favor

In the wake of last week's perplexing revelations that Alice Waters has aligned herself with a controversial, "elitist" Montana housing project comes a possible explanation for the Chez Panisse founder's involvement. To recap, Waters came under fire on The Ethicurean because the new gated community—in which her new culinary school will open—is promising a private gourmet meal by Waters with the purchase of a $2.3 million home. Mind you, the average price tag for a home in the small Montana community is $150,000.

And now, some detective work, from Tigers & Strawberries:

I think I may have figured out how she got involved with the Ameya Preserve project, though ... back in May on Michael Bauer' blog, Between Meals, there was a post announcing Alice Waters' involvement in Carlo Petrini's 2008 Slow Food Nation expo in San Francisco. The event promises to be fascinating, and full of food and fun and all that good stuff, but what I found most interesting was the mention, down near the end of the post, that the first major donation to Slow Food Nation was "a $500,000 gift from the Ameya Preserve in Montana, which is an 11,000-acre plot of sustainable land."
Ah, the blurry ethical lines of means and ends. Is Waters justified in lending her name and support to a controversial community-fracturing project if it means a generous donation to a good cause? And is this better or worse than Thomas Keller's frozen food schemes?
· Is Alice Waters an Elitist Food Snob? [Tigers & Strawberries]
· Alice Waters' Involvement in Montana Housing Development: Slightly Confusing [~ESF~]

[Photo courtesy]

Chez Panisse

1517 Shattuck Avenue, , CA 94709 (510) 548-5525 Visit Website