How We Eat

That’s the apt title of the new thought-provoking speaker series, July 31 through August, hosted by the non-profit, public affairs forum, the Commonwealth Club of California. From Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley to Jesse Ziff Cool of Menlo Park’s Flea Street Cafe to Ryan Scott of “Top Chef” fame and the new Mission Bay Cafe in San Francisco, there’s a program sure to entice.

Here’s the lineup:

*July 31, Thurs., 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program (Fairmont Hotel)
Speakers: Alice Waters, Owner and Executive Chef of Chez Panisse, Author, Sustainable Food Advocate; Eric Schlosser, Investigative Reporter, Writer, Author of Fast Food Nation

Title:  The Joys and Pleasure of Eating Well.

Cost: $15 members, $30 non-members; Premium $55 members, $75 non-members 

*Aug. 4, Mon., 5:30 p.m. program (Boardroom)

Book Discussion: Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

Title:  Navigating Nutritional Minefields.

Monthly book discussion, author not present

Cost: FREE 

*Aug. 4, Mon., 6:30 p.m. check-in, 7 p.m. program, 8 p.m. book signing
(Cubberley Community Center Theatre)

Speaker: Jesse Ziff Cool, Restaurateur, Author of “Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonable, and Local Ingredients”

Title: Simply Organic

Cost: $12 members, $18 non-members 

*Aug. 5, Tues., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speaker: Ranjan Dey, Proprietor, New Delhi Restaurant

Title: Spice of India: Preserving Indian Cooking Traditions

Cost: $14 members, $21 non-members

*Aug. 6, Wed., 11:45 a.m. check-in, Noon – 3 p.m. program
Ferry Building – outdoor kitchen – north of clock tower)

Speakers: Stephen Gibbs, Executive Chef, Hands on Gourmet; Julie Cummins, Director of Education, Center for Urban Education About  Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)

Title: Locavore Lunch: Hands-on Cooking (and Eating)

Cost: $85 members, $100 non-members

*Aug. 6, Wed., 5:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception, 6 p.m. program (Blue Room)

Speakers: Kevin Lunny, Owner, Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Jessica Prentice, Author, Full Moon Feast, Co-owner, Three Stone Hearth Community Supported Kitchen; Helene York, Director, Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation;  Naomi Starkman, Communications Director, Slow Food Nation – Moderator

Title: Eating The Right Way

Cost: $12 Club Slow Food Nation members, $18 non-members

*Aug. 7, Thurs., 11:45 a.m. check-in, Noon – 3 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Peter Menzel, Photographer; Co-author, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats; Faith D’Alusisio, Writer, Co-author, Hungry Planet: What the World Eats

Title: What the World Eats

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members 

*Aug. 9, Sat., 9:15 a.m. check-in, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. program (Corner of Clement and 11th Ave.)

Speaker: Naomi Friedman, Culinary Educator

Title: The “Other” Chinatown

Cost: $45 members, $55 non-members

*Aug. 11, Mon., 4:45 p.m. reception, 5:15 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speaker: Deirdre Moriarty, Clinical Psychologist

Title:  When Did Eating Become the Enemy?

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members

*Aug. 11, Wed., 6 p.m. check-in, 6:15-8 p.m. program (Teatro ZinZanni, Pier 27/29)

Speakers: Carrie C.Oliver, Founder & CEO, The Oliver Ranch Company & Artisan Beef Institute; Armand de Maigret, General Manager, Atalon, Napa Valley; Mac Magruder, Grass-Finished Beef and Pastured Pork Producer, Potter Valley; Marsha McBride, Executive Chef and Owner, Cafe Rouge

Title: The Provenance of Beef (The Great Steak-Wine Adventure)

Cost: $65 members, $80 non-members 

*Aug. 12, Tues., 11:30 a.m. check-in, Noon lunch (Cafe Rouge, 1782 4th St., Berkeley)

Speakers: Marsha McBride, Executive Chef and Owner, Cafe Rouge; Rick DeBeaord, Chef, Cafe Rouge

Title: Lunch at Café Rouge

Cost: $38 members, $52 non-members 

*Aug. 12, Tues., 5:30 p.m. check-in, 6 p.m. program, 7 p.m. book signing (Blue Room)

Speaker: Dr. Dean Ornish, President and Director, Preventive Medicine Research Institute

Title:  Perfecting a Healthy Lifestyle

Cost: $12 members, $18 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID) 

*Aug. 13, All Day Nutrition Symposium beginning 11:30 a.m. (Blue Room)

Cost: $8 members, $15 non-members (cost covers all Nutrition Symposium programs on this day)

The Benefits of Snacking

Speaker: Patty Facendini, Certified Natural Chef; Founder, The Patty James Cooking School and Nutrition Center

Time: 11:30 a.m. check-in, noon program
Salute to Salads
Speaker: Laurie Zerga, Culinary Educator; Owner, Chef-K
Time: 1:30 p.m. check-in, 2:30 p.m. program

Our Health and Heavy Metals
Speaker: Michael J. Lipelt, D.D.S., N.D., L.Ac., Acupuncture and Biological Dentistry Specialist
Time: 2:30 p.m. check-in, 3 p.m. program

Pollution Protection
Speaker: Ed Bauman, Executive Director, Bauman College
Time: 4 p.m. check-in, 4:30 p.m. program

Can What You Eat Cause or Prevent Cancer?
Speaker: Larry H. Kushi, Sc.D., Associate Director for Etiology and Prevention Research, DOR,

Kaiser Permanente
Time: 5:15 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program

*Aug. 13, Wed., 6 p.m. program (City Club)

Speakers: Syndi Seid, Founder and Director, Advanced Etiquette; Vinita Chopra Jacinto, Culinary Chef Instructor, California Culinary Academy

Title: Dining Etiquette Around the World: Hands, Chopsticks, Forks, Knives and Spoons

Cost: $75 Club/City Club members, $85 non-members 

*Aug. 14, Thurs., 5:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception, 6 p.m. program (Blue Room)

Speakers: Naomi Starkman, Communications Director, Slow Food Nation (Moderator);  Don Shaffer, President and CEO, Rudolph Steiner Foundation; Paul Frankel, Acosa Capital; Greg Steltenphol, Founder, Odwalla, Inc., CEO, Adina Beverages

Title: The Centralization of Our Food System

Cost: $12 members and Slow Food members, $18 non-members 

*Aug. 14, Thurs., 5:45 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Ondina N. Hatvany, MA, MFT; Cecilia Joyce, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Title: Emotionally Eating Our Way to a Perfect Body?

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members 

*Aug. 15, Fri., 10 a.m. meet at BART station, 12:30 p.m. tour ends (Fruitvale BARTstation)

Speakers: Pamela Magnuson-Peddle, Author, Fruitvale on Foot: Three Historic Walking Tours of

Oakland’s Fruitvale Neighborhood; Betty Marvin, City of Oakland Planning Department

Title: Sabores de Fruitvale

Cost: FREE

*Aug. 16, Sat., 9 a.m. meet bus at Club, 4 p.m. return to Club (Devil’s Gulch Ranch)
Farm Tour: Devil’s Gulch Ranch

Title: Farm Tour: Devil’s Gulch Ranch

Cost: $95 members, $110 non-members 

*Aug. 18, Mon., 5:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception, 6 p.m. program (Blue Room)

Speakers: Joyce Goldstein, Chef, Author, Culinary Consultant; Preston Maring, M.D., Physician, Oakland Medical Center, Founder, Kaiser Friday Fresh Farmers Markets; Nora Norback, M.P.H., R.D., C.D.E., Nutrition and Care Management, Kaiser Permanente

Title: Aging Well, Eating Well

Cost: FREE members, $18 non-members

*Aug. 19, Tues., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Karen Earle, M.D., Chief of Endocrinology and Director of the Center for Diabetes Services, California Pacific Medical Center

Title: America’s Epidemic of Obesity and Diabetes

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members

*Aug. 20, Wed., 5:15 p.m. reception and wine tasting, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Paul Dolan, Co-owner, Mendocino Wine Company; Philip Larocca, Owner, LaRocca Vineyards; Jonathan or Paul Frey, Owner, Frey Biodynamic Wines;  Kerry Curtis, Chair, Environment & Natural Resources Member-Led Forum (Moderator)

Title: Wine: Sustainable, Organic, Biodynamic – What Does It All Mean?

Cost: $8 members, $15 non-members

*Aug. 20, Wed., 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. Skyy cocktail reception, 8 p.m., Intimate five-course Prix Fix dinner with chef Ryan Scott at Mission Beach Café

Speakers: Zoi Antonitsas, Chef, Zazu;  Jennifer Biesty, Chef, Former Chef, CoCo 500; Ryan Scott, Executive Chef, Mission Bay Café, Former Chef, Myth;  Marcia Gagliardi, Founder, (Moderator)

Title: Top Chefs Tell All

Cost: $15 members, $25 non-members

*Aug. 21, Thurs., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Blue Room)

Speakers: Steve Sullivan, Owner, Acme Bread; Sam Mogannam, Managing Partner, BiRite Market;  Anya Fernald, Director, Slow Food Nation;  Naomi Starkman, Communications Director, Slow Food Nation (Moderator)

Title: Building a Slow Food Nation

Cost: $12 Club/Slow Food members, $18 non-members

*Aug 21, Thurs., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speaker: Rebecca Ets-Hokin, Culinary Professional, Teacher, Writer

Title: Israeli Cuisine at 60

Cost: $8 members, $15 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)

*Aug. 25, Mon., 4:45 p.m. reception, 5:15 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speaker: Jenni Ferrari-Adler, Editor, Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Title: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members

*Aug. 25, Mon., 6:15 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. dinner (231 Ellsworth Restaurant, San Mateo)

Title: An Evening of Food and Wine with Hendry Wines and 231 Ellsworth Restaurant

Cost: $100 members, $100 non-members (includes dinner, wine, gratuity, a copy of San Francisco Cuisine magazine)

*Aug. 26, Tues., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Phyllis Faber, Co-founder, The Marin Agricultural Land Trust and The Environmental Forum of Marin; Sam Dolcini, Rancher;  Bob Berner, Executive Director, MALT

Title: Our Disappearing Farmland

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members

*Aug. 26, Tues., 5:30 p.m. wine and cheese reception, 6 p.m. program (Blue Room)

Speakers: Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, New York University; Author, What to Eat
Title:  Closing the Gaps in Food Safety

Cost: $12 members, $18 non-members

*Aug. 27, Wed., 4:45 p.m. reception, 5:15 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speakers: Robert B. Baron, M.D., MS, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean, UCSF; John M. Rabkin, M.D.

Title: The “Real Skinny” on Obesity

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members

*Aug. 27, Wed., 6 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program, 7:30 p.m. reception/book signing (Blue Room)

Speaker: Raj Patel, Activist, Academic, Author, Stuffed and Starved

Title: Stuffed

Cost: $12 members, $20 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID)

*Aug. 28, Thurs., 5:30 p.m. reception, 6 p.m. program (Gold Room)

Speaker: Albert Straus, Owner, Straus Family Creamery

Title: Dairies and Feedlots: What’s the Good News?

Cost: FREE members, $8 non-members 

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  • Holy cow, Carolyn, some of these events sound fantastic! Are they all in SF? Let me know if you want to go to any of them and we can carpool/train up together..

  • Carolyn — I realize this is more than a day late and dollar short — more like over a month tardy and who knows how many dineros short but nonetheless (I’m recycling my excuse from last time about why I’ve not stayed current with food issues: the historic events in American politics currently have me by the throat — and eyes — and ears).

    I’m like a fair weather fan with respect to attending events given by the Commonwealth Club and have pretty much cherry-picked talks given down the Peninsula vs those in at the main SF venue. When I noticed Jesse Ziff Cool was speaking in Palo Alto in early August, I jumped on a ticket and arrived bright eyed and — appropriately tailed.

    What I failed to bring was my sorry memory: I had intended to ask a simple question on one of the comment cards always present at Commonwealth Club talks and the reason was because Alice Waters and Jesse Cool both championed eating seasonal, sustainable and where possible, organic local foods waaay before the movement was trendy.

    Like identical twins in that quest, in proudly using products from their own gardens in their respective restaurants in Berkeley and Menlo Park and always singing the praises of “good” foods, etc., etc. OK, then what was the question I was _going_ to ask but obviously failed to? It’s the one I’ll ask you, Carolyn — which one was first and did the other independently move in a parallel path or what?

    If you happen to see this “comment”, Carolyn, please let me know. I realize Waters is the more celebrated chef (Jesse insists she’s a “cook” rather than a chef) but sense Jesse would be more like David Chang than Jerimiah Tower — but who’s assigning culinary value points? This ain’t meant to be a battle of the Iron Heroines of Seasonal, Sustainable, etc., etc.!

    Once more — which of those two creative creatures of California cuisines was first?

    Thanks a green ton, Carolyn — your loyal (if erratic) fan — wayne wong

  • Hi Wotten Wayne,
    I think the answer is: It’s pretty darn close. According to Jesse Cool’s Web site, she started working as a waitress at the Good Earth Restaurant in Palo Alto in 1974, then became the chef-owner of Menlo Park’s Late For the Train in 1976. In contrast, Alice Waters and a group of friends opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley in 1971. See what I mean _ they’re not all that far apart in time.

    I think we should just be lucky to have had both of them so passionate about the farm-to-table philosophy for so long. They’ve both influenced and educated many diners and cooks, who have gone on to do the same, much like ripples in a pond. And all of us are richer in mind, body, and spirit because of that.

  • Could not agree more vigorously, Carolyn! Thanks so much — I’m delighted (and grateful) not only for your answer but to learn you read and respond to comments on topics over a month old. For sure the ripples generated by Waters and Cool have enriched those of us engaged in eating as well as those who create and prepare the food. You’ve only left out one important fact.

    Those ripples more quickly influence wider audiences when they’re expanded by skilled and aware food writers. Well-written articles have the power to seize the attention of uninformed people like me, engaging us such that we want to walk the walk rather than nodding in empty agreement to talking points. So, we owe you, Carolyn —and other talented writers — appreciation and thanks. For that matter, so do Ladies Waters and Cool! ; )

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