“When we first opened Chez Panisse in 1971, we used to buy vintage sets of Limoges china, which we had to hand wash at the restaurant (that lasted about a month!),” Alice Waters says. Over the years, as Chez Panisse established an international reputation and Alice Waters became known as a slow food pioneer, it was time for a bespoke approach to dinnerware. “I’m a neutral plate person, and I was looking for something that would harmonize with the food,” Alice says. “I didn’t imagine we could find something durable and affordable that still looked good. But my friend Christina Kim of Dosa introduced me to Cathy Bailey and Robin Petravic of Heath Ceramics, and I had such faith in Christina I said, ‘Let’s try.’ Christina helped us choose colors and develop the simple, timeless shapes.”
Introduced in 2006 in one shade only—creamy white—the Chez Panisse line, designed in collaboration with Alice Waters, became an instant classic. Now, more than a decade since its debut, Heath Ceramics and Alice Waters are reintroducing the Chez Panisse Line’s iconic shapes in an assortment of new glazes. “The palette is a balance of matte and glossy, classic and modern, warm and cool—and pieces are meant to be mixed and matched,” according to Cathy. “I think it’s always good to make changes, wake people up,” Alice says. “It’s very different to see food on a darker green plate, for instance. I especially like the Aloe Vine shade, a green gray that is so evocative of the Bay Area.”
N.B. The Chez Panisse line is made in Sausalito, CA, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale supports the Edible Schoolyard Project, whose mission is to provide a free, sustainable school lunch for students K–12 in public schools throughout the country.
Photography courtesy of Heath Ceramics.
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