As a firm supporter of the farm-to-table movement, eating at the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in California has been on my bucket list for years. There’s something about organic, locally-sourced food that makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.
Alice Waters, also a supporter of the movement, founded Chez Panisse in 1971. I try to make my kitchen as organic as possible when cooking, but I’m always looking for great cooking tips. So, I was delighted to discover there was a MasterClass course titled Alice Waters Teaches the Art of Home Cooking.
Despite my excitement, I still had my doubts. Alice may have published many books in the past, but could she teach on camera?
Would she truly stick to local, easily-accessible ingredients, like most of her students would expect?
I know I can’t be the only one with such doubts, heck I even researched all the other Masterclass alternatives which cover cooking.
But there was really only one way I could really know how I would feel – take the course, write an in-depth Alice Waters MasterClass review and help others with honest answers.
- Overview of Alice Waters MasterClass
- Alice Waters MasterClass Pros & Cons
- My Review of Masterclass – Alice Waters Teaches the Art of Home Cooking
- My Alice Waters MasterClass Learning Experience
- How Much Does Alice Waters MasterClass Cost?
- Is Alice Waters MasterClass For You?
- Alternatives to Alice Waters MasterClass
- Final Verdict: Is Alice Waters MasterClass Worth It?
If you only have time for a quick look at the key facts about the course. I recommend that you check out the overview section that comes next. It contains details about MasterClass, Alice Waters, and a table summary of my entire review.
Overview of Alice Waters MasterClass
Below is all the information you need if you’re not familiar with the course platform or instructor.
MasterClass is one of the world’s most popular e-learning platforms. They create course resources on various topics. Currently, there are over 180 classes on the platform.
What makes MasterClass unique is their instructor hiring criteria. The company almost exclusively hires industry celebrities. You will find classes instructed by superstars like Neil Gaiman, Serena Williams, and Samuel L. Jackson. These classes are not as expensive as one might think because of how the MasterClass subscription model is set up.
Although there are 11 categories in the library, the entire content focuses on niches in the arts, entertainment, and creative fields. Alice Water’s masterclass is one of the most popular cooking courses on the platform. It’s also one of the few that focuses on using local produce.
Meet Your Instructor: Alice Waters
Born in the United States, a country where fast food is a big part of the population’s diet, Alice understood the impact of such dishes. At some point in her career, she travelled to France as part of her studies. It was there that she realized the importance of farm-to-table dining.
When Alice returned to the United States in the 1970s, she was determined to continue her passion by establishing a restaurant. This restaurant would serve only whole, organic food, straight from the farmer’s market. She decided to partner with her friend, Lindsey Shere, to bring her dream to life.
The duo had limited capital and almost no experience running a restaurant. However, they did not let that stop them, and they opened Chez Panisse in 1971. Although the restaurant struggled at first, people soon saw the need for wholesome dining, and it became quite successful eventually.
Below is a list of Alice Water’s biggest achievements:
- In 1992, she became the first woman to win the award for Best Chef in America.
- Also in 1992, Chez Panisse won the award for Best Restaurant in America.
- She won Bon AppÃ©tit magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
- Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook was listed as one of the 50 best cookbooks of all time by The Observer.
- She held one Michelin Star for Chez Panisse between 2007 and 2010.
Summary of My Alice Waters MasterClass Review
Home & Lifestyle
|Content Formats||Video Lessons|
|Spoken Language||English (subtitles available in other languages)|
|What I Liked the Most||The instructor shares their experience and passion for organic food|
|What I Disliked the Most||No active community|
|Pricing||$180 – $276 per year|
|Discounts||Available via limited time offers|
|Refund Policy||30-day money-back guarantee|
Alice Waters MasterClass Pros & Cons
- Stunning production quality
- Lots of lessons and tips for cooking organic and locally sourced meals
- Filled with shopping tips
- 30-day refund policy
- Pairs well with other cooking masterclasses
- Various alternative ingredients mentioned in recipes
- In-depth cookbook included
- Experienced and passionate tutor
- No certification
- No active online or physical community
My Review of Masterclass – Alice Waters Teaches the Art of Home Cooking
Categories: Food, Home & Lifestyle
Duration: 3 hours and 47 minutes
This 3+ hour class holds a total of 17 lessons. I’ll be grouping some of them together in this review as they fall within the same cooking topic. Let’s dive in.
Alice’s Philosophy and Guidelines (Lessons 1, 2, 15, & 16)
The first couple of lessons will introduce you to Alice’s philosophy of food and cooking. She values spontaneity and harmony with nature.
Alice Waters takes you through the key concepts that make up her farm-to-table style of dining. She also talks about her time in France and how it changed her life, including the inspiration to found The Edible Schoolyard. Some of the ideas you’ll pick up from these four core lessons are as follows:
- What questions to ask when shopping at the farmer’s market or local grocery store.
- Step-by-step guidelines for picking the best produce.
- How to plan your menu without relying on recipes.
- How to set up the table for a meal.
Preparing Vegetables (Lesson 3)
Vegetables should be a big part of everyone’s diet. Alice loves them and serves plenty of greens in her restaurant.
In this video lesson, you get to watch Alice prepare one of her favorite vegetable meal, The Delicata Squash. She reveals her recipe for the meal and her technique for preparing it. She also talks about three ways to cook vegetables.
As the cooking progresses, Alice urges the viewer to take note of the cooking strategies she uses, as you can apply them to other recipes. You’ll learn how to time your cooking, roast vegetables, and lots more.
Essential Kitchen Tools (Lesson 4)
If you want to learn how to cook like Alice Waters, it would help if you had the same tools in your kitchen. Alice dedicates an entire video lesson to revealing her kitchen essentials.
I learned the importance of a compost bucket in this lesson, something I had never really considered in the past. You may use this lesson to create a list of new items to buy for your kitchen.
Pantry Lessons (Lessons 5 & 6)
The first of these two lessons will tell you what perishable stables and ready-to-go ingredients to include in your pantry. She shares shopping tips for stocking the following items and more:
- Olive oil
In the next lesson, Alice teaches you how to make some of her favorite staples. They include oat pancakes and quick pickles. Alice’s daughter, who shares her mother’s passion for cooking, helps a lot in these lessons.
Greens: Cooking with Herbs, Vegetables, and Salads (Lessons 7 – 9)
While some chefs only care about the fruit or leaves of a plant, Alice loves to use every bit of it. She talks about the different ways she uses herbs for various dishes. You’ll also learn how Alice grows her garden to ensure a steady supply of fresh herbs.
Alice dedicates an entire lesson to teaching how to cook the Salsa Verde. Her version is slightly different from what other chefs might be making. After that, she demonstrates her method of making Mesclun Salad.
Lessons from Chez Panisse (Lessons 10 & 11)
One meal that’s always on the menu at Chez Panisse is the Galette. It’s a pastry dish topped with fruits and fillings. In the first of these lessons, one of the restaurant’s pastry chefs, Carry Lewis, and Alice make the Galette in the restaurant’s style.
The next lesson shows the making of another Chez Panisse dish, the Ricotta Ravioli. The entire process takes some time, but it’s well worth the wait.
Cooking with the Season (Lesson 12)
One of the most successful desserts at Chez Panisse happens to be the fruit bowl. Alice reveals the thought process that went into listing it on the menu.
She also teaches her process of picking fresh, in-season fruit to go in the bowl. She also offers tips for picking food for each season.
Cooking for Dinner Party (Lessons 13 & 14)
This is your chance to learn how to prepare several courses for the perfect dinner party. Alice offers tips that would help you manage your time, plan your menu, cook delicious meals, and set the table for guests.
You also get to see her handle last minute changes, while preparing several new recipes.
BONUS LESSON (Lesson 17)
In this 4-minute bonus lesson, Alice tells an interesting story about the gifts she received from friends. This leads her to practice and perfect cooking an egg in the fireplace. She teaches you the entire process in this brief guide.
The downloadable PDF functions as a workbook and recipe book. It references several other culinary pieces written by Alice. There are a lot of adapted recipes in it, plus a detailed review of each chapter in the masterclass.
My Alice Waters MasterClass Learning Experience
It’s time for me to deliver my personal opinion on several aspects of the course. I’ll reveal my biggest takeaways, likes, dislikes, and materials used.
The Most Important Kitchen Tool
In lesson 4, Alice emphasizes the usefulness of your hands while cooking. They help to check the temperature, dress salads, and snap vegetables. They also allow you to add ingredients with a lot more accuracy. The hand is indeed the most important kitchen tool. Which is why it should also be the cleanest tool in your kitchen.
Learning to Trust My Senses
Many of the tips Alice gives on navigating the farmer’s market have to do with relying on your sense of smell, taste, and touch. She helped me better connect with my senses, and I plan to use them more often while shopping.
Materials I Needed
These are all of the kitchen equipment I used during the class:
- Cutting board
- Compost bucket
- Cast-iron skillets
- 12-inch stainless steelâlined sautÃ© pan
- 1-quart saucepan
- 2- to 3-quart stainless steel-lined saucepan with lid
- 3- to 4-gallon stockpot
- 4- to 6-quart ovenproof pot with lid
- Baking sheets and roasting pan
- Earthenware and gratin dishes
- Steamer basket and sieves
- Salad spinner and colander
- Bowls of various sizes
- Mortars and pestles
- Rolling pin, and tart and pie pans
What I Liked
Alice’s Passion for Organic Dining
The instructor’s passion for slow food shines through in the lessons. Even after all these years, Alice is still a firm patron of the movement. Her lessons never stray from these principles, and I learned a lot about why they are so important.
Different Alternative Ingredients and Methods
I also loved how she provided various alternative ingredients for nearly every recipe. Many of the ingredients she mentioned throughout the class were easy for me to find in one or two trips to the farmer’s market.
Alice has been cooking for decades, and her vast experience shows. She offers a lot of insightful comments that a regular chef wouldn’t think to make.
There are Lots of Recipes in the Workbook
There are dozens of recipes in the class and even more in the workbook. Each contains what ingredients to add and in what quantity. The recipes also serve as cooking guides that will teach you how to prepare the meal the Chez Panisse way.
Stunning Visuals and Audio
This class leaves up to the production standards many have come to identify with the MasterClass platform. The 1080p HD video was clear and crisp. Also, I had no issues following the class via audio.
What I Disliked
Completing the course will not earn you a certificate. Although you can still enjoy making good meals with the knowledge you gained, it will have little value in the job market.
No Active Community
There isn’t any way to talk to other students or your instructor. This is a common problem I found with most MasterClass courses. You have to find your community using external sources on social media.
How Much Does Alice Waters MasterClass Cost?
The cost of enrolling in the Alice Waters MasterClass is between $180 and $276. The only available billing format is an annual plan, with a starting price of $15 per month ($180 for 12 months). One subscription will give you access to Alice Water’s course and all the content in the MasterClass library at no extra cost .
Below are the plans and pricing options available: They are similar, so the table only shows the differences between each plan.
|No. of Simultaneous connected devices||1||2||6|
For discounts, MasterClass offers limited-time deals. I used a Mother’s Day discount offer recently. It allowed users to get 25% off Duo plans and 35% off Family plans.
Do you run a restaurant and want to help your staff gain valuable skills in slow food cooking? MasterClass offers a group discount. All you need to do is call the sales team.
There’s also a 30-day refund policy. You can request your money back within that timeframe if you don’t find the course useful.
Is Alice Waters MasterClass For You?
Now that you have all of the information you need about the class, it may be time to make a decision. Should you buy the Alice Waters MasterClass? Here are my recommendations:
The MasterClass is for you if you…
- Are interested in the Slow Food movement
- Want to learn to cook healthier meals
- Are a beginner chef
- Want to explore several cooking courses with a single subscription
- Want to learn how to select better products in the market
The MasterClass is NOT for you if you…
- Care mostly about getting a certificate
- Don’t do your grocery shopping yourself
Alternatives to Alice Waters MasterClass
Alice’s recipes contain mostly plants and herbs, but this alternative class focuses solely on those. Dominique Crenn offers a vegan-only course to help you cook more organic food.
Alice offers great tips and recipes for making pastries and desserts using the lessons she learned in France. This alternative class offers you an opportunity to delve deeper into French pastry-making.
Gordon is more popular than Alice Waters, and his restaurant is one of the best in the World. However, in his two-part course (which I include in my Best Masterclass Courses list), he does not focus as much on cooking organic foods at home. Alice is still the master at that. However, if you want to learn more mainstream dishes, this is the best alternative.
Final Verdict: Is Alice Waters MasterClass Worth It?
Yes, I do believe the Alice Waters MasterClass is worth your time and money. There are several reasons for my belief, but I’ll stick to the top two.
Firstly, the class offers value to anyone looking to impress their guests, host dinner parties, or even open a small restaurant.
Secondly, you’ll get a lot of valuable new recipes from this course. All of them use readily available ingredients and equipment. Finish the course, and then come back to it occasionally throughout the year to refresh your memory. You’ll get the most value from it if you take your time to understand each lesson.
In case you were wanted some additional Masterclass recommendations or wondering the same question as everyone else ‘is Masterclass worth it?‘, here are some of my favorite Masterclass courses I worked through below with links to in-depth reviews of each: