Chez Panisse, a small restaurant in Berkeley, California, opened its doors in the summer of 1971. For forty years, the restaurant and its founder, legendary chef Alice Waters, has had a profound influence on food, farming, cooking, and dining around the world. In the beginning, Waters saw the beauty and aesthetic of fine printing as a way to communicate—at the outset of the diners' experience—the care and attention given to the preparation of their dinner. Berkeley-based artist Patricia Curtan began hand printing menus for the restaurant during its early years, while employed as a cook in the Chez Panisse kitchen. Curtan's menus, works of art in their own right, capture the unique spirit of the famous restaurant with letterpress and linoleum-block prints on beautiful paper. In Menus for Chez Panisse, Curtan presents four decades of menus—including dinners for special guests such as Julia Child, Hillary Clinton, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and James Beard—with notes about the menus, the artwork, the occasions, and, of course, the food.
Patricia Curtan is an artist and designer living in Berkeley, California.
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"Whether you're interested in letterpress and printmaking, Chez Panisse and Alice Waters, or food ephemera, you'll find something of value in this beautiful book."
T: The New York Times Style Magazine:
"Some menus are now so iconic (radishes tied in a bundle, ripe figs still on the branch) that they evoke not only Chez Panisse but an entire era of food."
"40 years of gorgeous menus from the legendary Berkeley restaurant."
Mint Design Blog:
"Imagine a restaurant willing to have beautifully letterpressed menus for a single nights, special-event dinner now imagine being the lucky artist who gets to create those menus! Patricia Curtans talent shines in Menus for Chez Panisse, a collection of over 100 handmade menus for the Berkeley, California restaurant. With hand-set type and hand-carved linoleum block images, each menu is unique and a work of art."
"The results are gorgeous, elegant, and delectable and they are reproduced with excellent fidelity in this book that captures more than 100 of Curtans menus, each accompanied with notes on the menus, the occasion, and the cooking. This is a fabulous book, documenting a treat that few people get to enjoy."
"The book runs through almost 40 years of menus, from intimate birthdays to lively Bastille Day celebrations to bittersweet farewell parties. Each card is elegant and simple, serving as a memento of that night. Both ordinary and momentous meals are showcased in the book, giving the reader an idea of Chez Panisse's inventive California cuisine."
"Menus for Chez Panisse awes.... a shockingly impressive and addictive tome.... we strongly recommend. Gorgeous stuff, folks."
"Ahh, the world of letterpress shines again. Menus for Chez Panisse is a visual record of forty years of food, love, and appreciation for fine printing. In this unbelievable collection of letterpress menus printed by Patricia Curtan, you will find images of hand carved linoleum block illustrations and lead type text describing the mouthwatering ingredients from the early days of Chez Panisse."
Inside Google Books:
"Her gorgeous new book gathers these menus in one place and provides an intimate look into the history and life of this important establishment."
"Menus for Chez Panisse is an essential book for any one who loves the art of letter press."
The Midwest Book Review:
"While this lovely display is recommended for arts collections, culinary holdings should also consider it a top pick, tracing the menus and evolution of the famous Chez Panisse Restaurant!"
Gorgeous (rating 5 out of 5):
I can't wait to read it when it comes out! So psyched. Saw it at BEA and went nuts with excitement.
- Sara Benincasa from Work (05/24/2011)