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Alice Waters' Mid-Summer Night Bacchanal at BAM

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Alice Waters, New York Times' Sally Singer, and David Byrne
Alice Waters, New York Times' Sally Singer, and David Byrne

Photos: Molly DeCoudreaux

At Friday's Chez Panisse 40th anniversary party at the Berkeley Art Museum (BAM), The Green Goddess a.k.a. Alice Waters aimed to prove her delicious revolution "isn't just for foodies." In the case of this specific soiree—headlining the big reveal of Waters' Smithsonian photo portrait— the likes of OPENrestaurant artists and Edible Schoolyard educators were joined by none other than Jerry Brown, Berkeley mayor Tom Bates, rock star-cum-author David Byrne, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini, Senator Barbara Boxer, Gilt's Ruth Reichl and T Magazine's Sally Singer. Of course, those who donated $100 to Waters' foundation in exchange for the privilege of attending, were also there. Foodies or not, click through for Eater take-aways, eye-catching hatgear, proof that "Berkeley glitterati" might not be a paradox, and more.

1) Ruth Reichl said she "wouldn't have missed this" on her way to a Top Chef panel in Vegas. The Selby also flew in on assignment for the New York Times, specifically to cover an Edible Schoolyard dinner at artist and designer Lauren McIntosh's home.

2) Seen: Christina Kim of eco-fashion line, Dosa, air-kissing Sally Singer from afar.

3) Caterer Paula LeDuc, started the canape trail at the entrance with warm tamales and cool corn soup. Attendees elbowed in for Bellwether Farms' ricotta toasts topped with a single shaved radish, Monterey Seafood's albacore tuna confit on lipstick peppers, and a lemon verbena-infused mulberry cocktail courtesy of St George Spirits.

4) A percussion band from Cal led the way with a drumroll, followed by a parade of costumed nymphs, goddesses of the grain, bee-keepers, maidens with Pan-inspired headgear, a guy studded in antlers and children waving loaves of bread and whole carrots. Overheard: "It's all so pagan. This is awesome!" The march ended as all meals should with a team from Berkeley Recycling spinning larger-than-live trash bins to roaring applause.

5) Next up: trumpets sounding, as Jerry Brown stormed on stage to introduce Waters, emerging swan-like in head-to-toe white. With his free speech/free lunch spiel, some might say Brown stole some of the thunder from Smithsonian director of the National Portrait Gallery, Martin E. Sullivan, who waited patiently to do Waters intro.

6) For the big Smithsonian portrait reveal, a hush spread across the room. Then there was Alice depicted from afar, standing forthright under a mulberry tree at the original Edible Schoolyard. The portrait, taken by photographer Dave Woody, caught those expecting an Alice close-up off guard. A tear-filled Waters followed, "it represents hope for me in the future and for the kids."

7) Tom Bates, mayor of Berkeley, ended the ceremony with a few fratty "hip hip hoorays," calling Alice the "ambassador of dreams," and a "national role model." For her final acceptance speech, Alice announced her renewed dedication to providing a free lunch to every single child in public school. Then she was whisked away by her handlers to prep for that night's Edible Schoolyard dinners, leaving the rest of the party to fill up on Bandol and hearty swigs of apricot grappa.

· All Previous Hangover Observations Coverage [~ ESF ~]
· All Previous Alice Waters Coverage [~ ESF ~]

Chez Panisse

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