Counterculture Meets Gourmet
Berkeley, California’s “gourmet ghetto” was a major influence in the transformation of American food. There, out of the counterculture, a community emerged that was committed to fresh, local, seasonal, and artisanal foods.
Alice Waters and the restaurant she founded, Chez Panisse, were part of this extended community that cooked, baked bread, made cheese, raised goats and poultry, farmed vegetables, and foraged for wild foods. The Bay Area’s pioneering reinvention of local food was coupled with its renewed interest in importing quality coffee and olive oils. These trends appeared and reverberated elsewhere, including Seattle, Boston, and Boulder, changing the types of food available to Americans throughout the country.
Menu, Zinfandel Dinner, 1976
This poster by David Lance Goines was commissioned by Corti Brothers Grocery in Sacramento to celebrate the introduction of some of the first extra-virgin olive oil made and sold in the United States. Many credit Corti for introducing high grades of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and other foods that have become staples across America.
Poster, “Pallido,” 1987
Steve Sullivan, the first bread baker for Chez Panisse, and his wife, Suzie, opened Acme Bread Company in 1983. They supplied artisanal bread to many Bay Area restaurants. David Lance Goines’s poster features their bread-loving daughter and pet rabbit.
Alfred Peet, a Dutch immigrant from a coffee-trading family, started Peet’s Coffee and Tea in Berkeley in 1966. Peet’s coffees satisfied a hunger for European tastes and flavors. His dark-roast brews started a coffee fanaticism that led to chains of coffeehouses with locations around the globe.
Coffee mug, around 1995
Laura Chenel went to France in the 1970s, returning to California inspired to raise goats and make the cheese she had come to love abroad. She was one of the first suppliers of the “new” chèvre for restaurants like Chez Panisse. As demand for goat cheese spread across the country, artisanal producers multiplied.