The Greens 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series features an unprecedented lineup of renowned chefs with each designing a vegetarian four-course prix fixe meal inspired by historic menus archived from the last four decades of Greens. Focusing on six important values of Generosity, Patience, Virtue, Energy, Focus, and Connection, Greens Restaurant celebrated the second installment of the series with a sold out dinner featuring Alice Waters of Chez Panisse on August 5, 2019.
Upon entering the black walnut doors at Greens on August 5, attendees were warmly greeted by Alice Waters as they walked into the main dining room that houses a three-ton redwood installation by JB Blunk and original landscape paintings by Willard Dixon. The exquisite dinner commenced with a delightful Summer Tomato Salad (a la Panisse with basil and aioli) and Chanterelle Mushroom Fazzoletti (in Mushroom brodo), both pictured above. The main course comprised of the savory Grilled Canard Farm Eggplant and Peppers (with Saffron rice pilaf and herb sauce). Waters’ finale was a Raspberry and Prosecco Fruit Soup (with sliced peaches and langue de chat).
Waters’ enduring connection with Greens dates back to the late ’70s when Chez Panisse alumna Deborah Madison (Founding Chef, Greens Restaurant) consulted with Waters to develop a singular vegetarian menu that would stand the test of time at the soon to be opened Greens Restaurant in 1979. The founders of Greens, the San Francisco Zen Center, opened the restaurant with the values of Buddhism and a way to bring cooking at their Tassajara Zen Mountain Center to the center of San Francisco. The influence of Chez Panisse on Deborah Madison’s cooking and Executive Chef Annie Somerville’s (since 1985) menus was monumental. Green Gulch Farm Zen Center’s organic produce and Greens’ cultivation of relationships with small farmers has allowed Greens to prosper for 40 years.
Notable guests at the August 5 dinner included celebrity chef and series participant Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen), Ed Sattizahn (Abbott of San Francisco Zen Center, First Signer of the Lease for Greens), designer Bruce Mitchell, and Patricia Unterman (Owner, Hayes Street Grill). The daughters of JB Blunk and Alice Waters, Mariah Nielson and Fanny Singer’s contemporary line Permanent Collection featured timeless objects, garments, and accessories for a modern lifestyle onsite at Greens throughout the dinner. Permanent Collection presents historical designs that are elegant, minimal and versatile: the types of pieces they believe could become the staples of anyone’s personal “permanent collection.”
A portion of proceeds from the August 5 dinner benefitted Waters’ nonprofit, the Edible Schoolyard Project. Since 1995, Waters has led the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. For more information regarding the Edible Schoolyard Project, please visit https://edibleschoolyard.org
The Greens 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series features a distinguished lineup of lauded chefs, including: Suzette Gresham (Acquerello: September 11), Kim Alter (Nightbird: October 7), Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen: November 4), and Pam Mazzola (Prospect: December 11). Previous chefs in the dinner series have included Reem Assil (Reem’s California: July 9 — Sold Out) and Alice Waters (Chez Panisse: August 5 — Sold Out).
Through the march of generations and amidst an ever-changing San Francisco dining scene, Greens Restaurant has remained steadfast in its original mission of celebrating vegetables with an intentional practice of being of service, an important value system set forth by its founders, the San Francisco Zen Center. With gratitude, Greens invites you to join the celebration of its heritage and ongoing mission.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit greensrestaurant.com.
About Greens Restaurant
Greens Restaurant pioneered vegetarian cooking and paved the way for establishing it as a cuisine in America. In 1979, the San Francisco Zen Center opened Greens to provide an opportunity for Zen students to work together and extend their practice to the workplace. For many years, the entire staff at Greens were Zen students. Founding Chef of Greens, Deborah Madison, was a student at Zen Center for 18 years where she held a host of kitchen positions. In 1981, Annie Somerville joined the restaurant and trained with Madison. Somerville became Executive Chef in 1985, and has since continued to work closely with local growers, cheesemakers, and purveyors, to serve and celebrate seasons and their bounty. San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm provides the restaurant with organic produce year-round from its farm and garden. Green Gulch Farm has been a model of sustainable organic farming and gardening.
Occupying a former Army warehouse in Fort Mason, the restaurant is adorned with floor to ceiling windows and quintessential views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin headlands and The Marina. The space was constructed by carpenters from the Zen Center, including lead designer Paul Discoe, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, using reclaimed wood and recycled material. Central to the familiar dining room are works by local Bay Area artists: a curving three-ton, tour de force of woodcarving, redwood installation by JB Blunk, original landscapes hanging on the walls by painter Willard Dixon, and specially made service areas and entryway by designer Jason Lees.