Food pioneer Alice Waters and top DC chefs all in one place -- Friday, January 20 at NPG.
The National Portrait Gallery will celebrate its newest acquisition with a reception featuring renowned chef Alice Waters and some of the Washington region’s most acclaimed masters of the kitchen. NPG will install the portrait of Alice Waters on Friday, January 20, and as a part of the evening, the gallery will host a conversation between Waters and José Andrés in the McEvoy Auditorium at 6:00 p.m.
Following the portrait presentation will be a chefs’ reception with light fare by Andrés, Cathal Armstrong, Adam Bernbach, Todd Gray, Haidar Karoum, Nora Pouillan, Adam Smith (representing Cowgirl Creamery) and Susan Gage. Information to purchase tickets for the event can be found here.
One remarkable component of Alice Waters’s culinary philosophy is that she teaches us what we already should instinctively know: the wisest meal begins close to home. Fresher ingredients, which do not require processing, naturally yield a higher-quality dining experience. Ironically, advancements in agriculture, the food industry, and technology have combined to remove us from the intimacy of meals featuring food we have seen cultivated and prepared. Alice Waters has been at the forefront of changing that concept.
“The Portrait Gallery recognizes Waters for changing the way the nation thinks about how people are connected to food and the environment,” notes Dr. Martin Sullivan, NPG director. Dave Woody, winner of the NPG's 2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition (OBPC), was the artist commissioned to create the Waters portrait.
The journey from blank canvas to portrait on the wall is a lengthy one, with both the sitter and the artist being taken into consideration. Brandon Fortune, NPG’s chief curator, said of the process, “The National Portrait Gallery Commission reviewed a number of worthy candidates and finally voted to ask Dave Woody to create a portrait of Alice Waters.”
Woody received his bachelor of fine arts in photography from Colorado State University and his master of fine arts in studio art from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. His photograph Laura (left) received the first prize in the 2009 OBPC, and he has also received multiple awards and honors while studying at the University of Texas. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and internationally.
Waters, chef, author, and founder of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, is a pioneer of a culinary philosophy based on using only the freshest organic products, served only in season. Over the course of forty years, Chez Panisse has developed a network of local suppliers whose dedication to sustainable agriculture assures the restaurant a steady supply of pure, fresh ingredients.
Waters’s commitment to education led to the creation of The Edible Schoolyard, a one-acre garden and an adjacent kitchen classroom at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. The project, started in 1996, gives nearly 1,000 students the knowledge and values they need to build a humane and sustainable future by actively involving them in all aspects of the food cycle.
The success of The Edible Schoolyard led to the School Lunch Initiative, which has as its national agenda the integration of a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the academic curriculum of all the public schools in the United States.
Meet Alice Waters, Dave Woody and top chefs from D.C.–area restaurants January 20 at this event.
Alice Waters / Dave Woody / Pigment print, 2010 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; acquired through the Marc Pachter Commissioning Fund as part of the first prize, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009
Laura / Dave Woody / Digital print, 2007 / First prize winner, Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009