If there is a mecca for American foodies, it's probably Chez Panisse, Alice Waters' successful restaurant in Berkeley, Calif. As a college student at UC Berkeley, Samin Nosrat saved money for a year to eat one dinner there. It was love at first bite. Samin landed a job as a buser, and worked her way up to line cook. When her mentor, the head chef at Chez Panisse for 16 years, decided to open a restaurant a couple of miles away, she became his sous chef. They dreamed of a pure restaurant with an authentic Italian menu and the freshest, finest ingredients they could find. But people's pocketbooks don't always keep pace with their palates. Just as Eccolo finally hit its stride, the recession hit. Samin talks to Dick Gordon about the compromises in quality she refused to make in order to stay open, and Eccolo's seven last suppers after she and the chef decided to close.
- Samin's blog!
- Music in this story: The Last Waltz performed by The Band