The glass ceiling atop Campanile restaurant almost seemed to bulge outward at times Sunday night, filled with the happy din of foodies celebrating the appearance of Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters, who was down from Berkeley raising money for one of her pet projects: Slow Food Nation, a "campaign to change the way America produces and eats food," that will culminate in a four-day food fair held in the Bay Area next May.
After an extremely ambitious start, a new, somewhat scaled-down version of the event is in the works, but details are still a little vague. Still, that didn’t stop the more than 190 people in attendance, or even slow them down. According to the restaurant, more than $60,000 was raised.
Among those happily chowing down on spot prawns over fresh pappardelle and rotisserie rosemary baby lamb were farmers Peter Schaner, Alex Weiser and Maryann and Paul Carpenter, winemaker Maria Sinskey of Napa’s Robert Sinskey Vineyards, chefs Suzanne Goin (shown with Waters at left), David Lentz and Chris Blobaum, and cookbook authors Amelia Saltsman, Alice Medrich and Martha Rose Shulman. Television host Huell Howser made a surprise appearance.
In brief remarks before dinner, Waters praised the generosity of Campanile chef Mark Peel — who worked for her briefly early in his career (as did Goin): “When I called, he didn’t ask what it was for and he didn’t ask me how many people were coming. He just said yes.”
Slow Food, she said, is a counter to those who want “to convince us that everything should be fast, cheap and easy. Slow Food is about taking time. The slow way gives our lives meaning. It’s the process that matters.”
-- Russ Parsons
Photo by Russ Parsons