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Catherine Brandel: 1943-1999.
Catherine Brandel, illustrator, chef, forager, and mentor to other chefs, was a leading expert in wild edible plants and a staunch supporter of small family farms. She opened and championed farmer's markets throughout the San Francisco Bay area, lobbied on behalf of organic growers and helped create a conduit from several thousand small-scale farmers to top restaurants nationwide. She gathered wild fruits, nuts, and greens for the famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, and, with Julia Child, organized the Great Chefs of France cooking program at the Robert Mondavi Vineyards. "Catherine was an original," said Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse, "She could find anything, cook anything, teach anything." Throughout her life Brandel was a teacher and, when she left the restaurant in 1994, helped create the two branches of the Culinary Institute of America on the West Coast and in Hyde Park, New York.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston