When I had Alice Waters over to my house for dinner, there was just one thing I wanted from her: to learn how to make real restaurant-style salad dressing the way she makes it. I needed to know the secret!
I remember school cafeteria food -- with a certain amount of horror -- but not actually eating it. What I remember was our lunch lady cashier, who was huge and mustached and who scared the bejesus out of me. Once, as I paid for lunch, I dropped a coin into my spaghetti.
When I first moved to California, I marveled at the fact that I had a lemon tree in my backyard. As a sometime chef, I consider lemons the prime secret ingredient making most dishes sing-and-zing with flavor.
Alice Waters didn't set out to start a revolution. When the former Montessori teacher and Francophile opened up her Craftsman bungalow in 1971, she just wanted to offer a convivial place to break bread like the places she admired in Europe.
Chef Allegra McEvedy loves her knives, all 100 of them, each with a story to tell. Though it's hard to say what she likes more: her vast collection of knives or her world travels on which she collects these specimens of international chefdom.