Chez Panisse Celebration

Chez Panisse Celebration

The Parmesan Shoe at the Chez Panisse 40th Celebration

Every time I make Summer Vegetable Soup with Pistou, I think back to this moment seven years ago, when my daughter Eva and I joined the Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Celebration, making our family favorite for hundreds, including Alice Waters herself.

This public celebrations took place at BAMPFA where the creative minds at Chez Panisse - affiliate  OPENrestaurant transformed the space outside the museum into an edible celebration of produce, a day-long outdoor affair, complete with interactive cooking installations, inspired art, and demonstrations illustrating the future of sustainable consumption.

Our charge was led by the ever-talented, chef and visionary Nicole Lobue, now of Hudson, NY, who organized a washing, chopping, grating station for children, some trained ready to train anyone that wanted to make soup. This process is dear to my heart, as my children began making soup before they entered preschool, holding a knife and chopping veggies in to tiny cubes. 

A major attraction of the lunch was the boot made of Parmesan by a local Italian shoe maker, that was cooked in the soup and served to special guests. This prank of sorts, hearkened back to a 1980 documentary Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe (Press to see the Documentary!!) directed by Les Blank which depicts director Werner Herzog living up to his promise that he would eat his shoe if Errol Morris ever completed the film Gates of Heaven. When it came time to realize this bet, he turned to Alice Waters to cook his boot (You will see her in the documentary.) The documentary was shown at the opening of Gates of Heaven!!! Read more about it on Wikipedia. 
After we finished our duties, we enjoyed all of the thoughtful, hands-on installations. The entire event was magical, Acme Bread made real Digger's Bread in cans, there were beehives, Goats and Goat Milk Caramel.
PistouIngredients for Chez Panise 40th
Ingredents2for  Chez Paninisse 40th Celebration
Ingredientsfor Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Pistou
Daughter Preparing Tomotoes for Chez Panisse 40th Ann Pistou
Eva gathering tomatoes to peel and chop
Eva loves her job grating Parmesan Cheese
Eva loves her job grating the Parmesan Cheese
Vegetable Soup with Pistou at the Chez Panisse 40th Celebration
Nicole Lobue Showing-off Parmesan Shoe
Nicole Lobue showing off the Parmesan Shoe
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe at 40th Anniversary Chez Panisse

Some of the original dinners from 1980, including Les Blank at the end.


Diggers Bread at Chez Panisse Celebration

Eva at the Chez Panisse 40th Birthday Celebration

Goats at the Chez Panisse Birthday Celebration


Recipe for Summer Vegetable Soup with Pistou:

Here is s start

1 onion or leek chopped

2 carrot diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 lb of tomatoes peeled, chopped

1 lb of potatoes diced

1 lb of zuccini

Green beans or Romano beans

White cooked Canelini beans (I had these Rancho Gordo beans) or fresh cranberry Beans)

bouquet de garni

Vegetables for a Pistou

 Saute onion or leek in olive oil. Add carrots and celery, cook for a few minutes. Add the rest of the veggies, reserve zucchini. Add herbs and water to cover. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 1.5 hours. (If using fresh pole beans, add now.)

Add zucchini at the end ans cooked beans.

Serve with generous amounts of finely grated parmesan cheese and maybe drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of pistou (pesto)


peeling tomatoes





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