Celebrity Chef Alice Waters Reveals Favorite Places to Eat in Berlin

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Alice Waters

Heading to the festival? The film buff and fest honoree says some of the best meals are on the food trucks.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Film and food long have been twin passions for Alice Waters. The pioneer of California cuisine and mother of the American foodie movement named her iconic Berkeley, Calif., restaurant Chez Panisse after a character in Marcel Pagnol's Marseilles trilogy (and her daughter Fanny after another figure in the films). Her patrons and friends include Francis Ford Coppola, Philip Kaufman and Werner Herzog.

Waters' dual passions meet at the Berlin Film Festival, where the chef and food activist has been a regular for years. It was Waters' idea to bring the cultures of film and food together that led to Berlin's ever-more-popular Culinary Cinema, which launched in 2007.

Despite the distance in miles, Waters sees a foodie-related link between Los Angeles and Berlin. "To me, it's all about the sustainable food production going on — there's so much happening surrounding sustainability in Germany already," she says. "I think Los Angeles is poised to make big advances in sustainable foods, too."

When it comes to Berlin snack spots, Waters gives a nod to the organic food trucks that park on-site a few feet from the Berlinale red carpet — the latest extension of the Culinary Cinema program. "Those are terrific; I find myself there a lot during the festival," she says. Asked for an off-site Berlin tip, she names ChenChe (Rosenthalerstr. 13), "a great little Vietnamese teahouse to go for dinner."

Once considered a foodie backwater, Berlin in the past few years has seen an explosion of restaurants of all ethnicities, many of the most successful following Waters' approach of sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. "The spots in Berlin and Los Angeles that I love the most are places where people are in the restaurant or food business for the right reasons," she says, "and are creating a beautiful and meaningful way of life."

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