PRODUCT REVIEW

Alice Waters MasterClass Review: Cook Healthier and Better Food with the Farm-to-Table Approach

Ragnar Miljeteig
November 3, 2021

Alice Waters MasterClass review synopsis

What you’ll learn: Farm-to-table pioneer and Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters teaches you how to cook using her principles. Learn how to find and pick seasonal vegetables and prepare meals in your home kitchen. If you’re looking for inspiration to make healthy, beautiful, and delicious meals, this MasterClass is for you.

How long does the Alice Waters MasterClass take? 3 hours and 47 minutes spread over 17 different modules.

Similar courses: Gordon Ramsay: Cooking 1, Thomas Keller: Cooking Techniques, Wolfgang Puck: Cooking, Madhur Jaffrey: Indian Cooking, Massimo Bottura: Modern Italian Cooking, Aaron Franklin: Texas-style BBQ Ron Finley: Gardening

Do I recommend the Alice Waters MasterClass?: Yes, I wholeheartedly recommend this MasterClass — both for beginners and experienced home cooks.

Get the Alice Waters MasterClass

Not only is Alice Waters a renowned chef and the founder of the acclaimed Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse, but she’s also published 13 books on cooking.

Specializing in adapting seasonal ingredients into gorgeous meals, she’s the perfect teacher to help the average home cook spice up their repertoire.

This MasterClass promises to teach you how to find the best seasonal ingredients in farmer’s markets and create beautiful meals without having to rely on a recipe every time.

But does the Alice Waters MasterClass live up to that promise?

That’s what we’ll find out in this review. We’ll go through the content lesson by lesson, put her advice into action, and explore all the pros and cons of the course.

Let’s dive right into it.

Featured image for the Alice Waters Masterclass review

Disclosure: In the interest of full transparency, Codeless uses affiliate links in our MasterClass reviews to cover our site’s costs.

Our Verdict

This MasterClass is recommended to any home cook with a little bit of experience — especially home cooks who feel like cooking is turning into a chore rather than a fun and rewarding hobby.

Alice Waters MasterClass Become a Pro at Cooking

$15 /month
PROS
  • Alice Waters is an energetic and charismatic teacher, and her attitude is infectious.
  • Following her approach to cooking makes it a lot more exciting than just settling for a “quick weeknight dinner.”
  • You build a strong foundation as a chef with a trained palate by following this approach, and you learn how to mix and match the flavors of in-season ingredients.
  • You learn how to make the most of the seasons and cook delicious meals with local produce to reduce your environmental impact.
CONS
  • The focus on farmer’s markets and fresh, organic produce means it’s not practical for everyone.
  • The course skips cooking technique basics like knife skills and sauteing.

A few frequently asked questions (FAQs)…..

Before we explore the course itself, let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions about this MasterClass.

Do I need a subscription to access this course?

Yes, you need a subscription to MasterClass to access this course. The Standard Plan starts at $15/month (paid annually).

Who is Alice Waters?

Alice Waters is the founder and head chef of the famous Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse and a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement in cooking.

She’s received multiple awards and commendations — including a Michelin star — throughout her 50-year career and published more than ten books on cooking.

Is the Alice Waters MasterClass worth it?

The Alice Waters MasterClass is a great investment for anyone who wants to cook and eat real, fresh food and cares about their impact on the environment.

Even if you’ve just started cooking for yourself and your family, it’ll offer you a new perspective on cooking, not just a handful of recipes.

Does MasterClass have a cancellation policy?

If you’re not happy with your MasterClass membership, you can contact the support team within 30 days for a full refund.

Sign up for MasterClass now

About Alice Waters and her qualifications

Alice Waters is the founder and executive chef of the acclaimed San Francisco bay area restaurant Chez Panisse. The restaurant had a one-star Michelin rating from 2006–2009.

In 2007, Alice Waters won Restaurant Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and was cited as one of the most influential figures in American cooking over the past 50 years.

She’s also a multiple-time winner of the James Beard award for her various achievements within the culinary arts.

The teacher profile of Alice Waters

Not only is she a world-renowned chef — she’s also one of the most influential pioneers of the farm-to-table movement.

What does that mean? She’s a champion of using local, seasonal ingredients to cook healthier, tastier food at home. It’s a recurring topic in her books, interviews, and, of course, this MasterClass.

How much does the Alice Waters MasterClass cost?

To take the course, you need to purchase a monthly MasterClass subscription that starts at $15 per month, billed annually. But with the subscription, you can access every MasterClass in addition to this course from Alice Waters.

The landing page of Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Landing Page

This price is for the Standard Plan, which includes all the video lessons, the workbook, and access to the online community.

The main limitation is that you can only view the courses on one device at a time.

The pricing page of Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Pricing Page

You can also opt for the Plus Plan, which allows up to two devices at the same time and costs $20 a month when billed annually.

The Premium Plan, which supports up to six simultaneous devices, starts at $23 a month.

Start learning with a MasterClass membership now

What is included in the Alice Waters MasterClass?

Runtime: 3 hours 47 minutes

Course Value: 4.6 out of 5

Lessons: 17

Supplementary materials: Digital student workbook and online forum

Supplementary workbook

Alice Waters’ MasterClass also includes a supplementary digital workbook to help you internalize the video lessons from the course.

The workbook is 77 pages long and starts with a heartfelt letter from Alice to any prospective student.

Letter in the Alice Waters' MasterClass workbook
Alice Waters MasterClass Workbook Letter

It has a chapter for each lesson and includes recipes and instructions for some of Alice’s favorite dishes. For example, this recipe for her oat pancakes is showcased in the sixth video lesson.

Recipe in the Alice Waters' MasterClass Notebook
Alice Waters MasterClass Workbook Recipe

It also condenses Alice’s philosophy on food and gives you suggestions for further reading to learn more about Alice and her approach to food and life.

The MasterClass Hub

There’s also an online community for the Alice Waters MasterClass course available to subscribers of all levels.

Also called a MasterClass Hub, it’s a place where you can interact with other students, ask for tips and recipes, and share your home cooking journey.

The online community of Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Online Community

For example, you could ask for tips on must-have pantry items or everyone’s favorite but little-known cooking technique.

A complete breakdown of the Alice Waters MasterClass curriculum

The Alice Waters MasterClass curriculum includes 17 different lessons. It starts with Alice’s philosophy of food, farmer’s market tips, recommended kitchen tools, and finishes up with actual recipes and how-to videos.

Curriculum:

  1. Alice’s Philosophy of Food
  2. The Farmer’s Market: Learning From the Source
  3. A Vegetable Lunch: Roasted, Steamed, and Raw
  4. Alice’s Essential Kitchen Tools
  5. A Well-Stocked Pantry
  6. Cooking For Your Pantry: Alice’s Pantry Staples
  7. Leaves, Herbs, and Aromatics
  8. Cooking From Your Kitchen Garden: Salsa Verde
  9. Preparing a Beautiful Salad
  10. Chez Panisse Cooking: Galette
  11. Chez Panisse Cooking: Ravioli
  12. Follow the Rhythms of Nature: Seasonal Eating
  13. A Market Fresh Dinner: Planning and Prep
  14. A Market Fresh Dinner: Finish and Serve
  15. Coming Back to the Table
  16. The Power of Food: The Edible Schoolyard
  17. BONUS: Alice’s Egg in a Spoon

Course summary:

This course isn’t focused on recipes or learning specific cooking skills like a julienne cut. Instead, the focus is on finding the right ingredients and preparing them the right way.

As you can see from the lesson titles, it all starts with Alice’s philosophy of food. She explains why she starts with the ingredients and how she lets them inspire her instead of starting with a specific dish and recipe.

Then, she visits an actual farmer’s market and goes through her process for getting the best in-season vegetables, fruits, and protein.

Farmer's market video in Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Farmer’s Market Video

Not just hearing her advice but seeing her put it into action makes it easier to learn and adapt it for yourself.

The course then moves on to kitchen equipment, pantry essentials, fresh herbs, and aromatics before exploring a number of seasonal dishes.

Her daughter, Fanny, joins her for the pantry video, as they co-authored the book “My Pantry” on pantry staples and recipes.

Pantry staples video in Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Pantry Staples Video

She then breaks down the seasonality of food and how to go about picking the right ingredient for the right dish throughout the year.

Seasonality video in Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Seasonality Video

The final ingredient of this MasterClass course is Alice sharing recipes and cooking scenes from her restaurant Chez Panisse.

You’ll learn exactly how to cook two recurring classics, a beautiful Galette and light and fluffy ravioli, from scratch.

Restaurant video in Alice Waters' MasterClass
Alice Waters MasterClass Restaurant Video

To finish things up, she showcases an entire market-fresh dinner from planning and preparation until serving and eating.

For dessert, we get a heartwarming bonus video that shares the story and recipe of her iconic “egg in a spoon” dish.

What I learned from the Alice Waters MasterClass

While not an accomplished chef by any means, I’m an experienced home cook with a handful of go-to dishes that I tend to rotate through no matter the season.

Because of that, Alice’s philosophy of food and cooking caught me by surprise. It helped me gain a new appreciation for the ingredients that go into the food and the process of cooking it.

6 key takeaways from the Alice Waters MasterClass

1. Ask questions about your produce

The farmer or grocer will always know more about the fruit, vegetable, or protein you are thinking about buying and cooking with than you. So ask them about their product.

Alice suggests these questions to ask at a grocery store or farmer’s market:

  • Where did it come from? How far away?
  • Are the animals certified organic and completely grass-fed?
  • Is the fish sustainably caught?

She also recommends asking about whether you should wait for the fruit or vegetable to ripen and similar questions related to preparation.

2. Let the ingredients decide what you should cook

Instead of deciding on what to cook for dinner before you go shopping, buy seasonal vegetables and ingredients and let them decide what’s for lunch or dinner.

3. Don’t assume, always taste

When you’re picking produce, don’t assume what it tastes like based on previous experiences.

Alice says it best herself: “You think you may know what a tomato or a carrot tastes like — but nothing compares to fresh-picked in-season produce.”

4. Prepare, so you can adapt to the seasons

Prepare jams, preserved fruit, and tomatoes for use throughout the winter and spring when you won’t be able to get in-season berries or fruit of that type.

5. What you keep in your pantry impacts the taste of the final dish

Don’t just buy the cheapest olive oil, flour, or dried pasta. Explore and experiment with your pantry, too. Find your favorite extra virgin olive oil, pasta brands, spices, and dried herbs.


This preparation is integral to leveling up the taste of your cooking.

6. Cooking should be an adventure, not a dull chore

The main takeaway is that by focusing on ingredients and letting them inspire us, we can turn cooking into a creative endeavor rather than a chore.

It’s something engrossing and fun that you’ll enjoy doing rather than worrying about the minute details of a recipe for the 50th time.

Sign up for Alice Waters’ MasterClass now

Memorable quotes from the Alice Waters MasterClass

“I want you to learn how to think about food and cooking and eating in a different way. Once you learn to discern for yourself, you will be freed from recipes and ingredients lists. And you will know how it feels to cook in this way — full of excitement, discovery, and even joy.”

Lesson 1: Alice’s Philosophy of Food

“Finding the best ingredients might seem daunting, but there’s nothing mysterious about it. You just need to learn to follow your senses.”

 Lesson 2: The Farmer’s Market: Learning From the Source

“Always ask questions — this is the foundation of your edible education.”

Lesson 2: The Farmer’s Market: Learning From the Source

“Being prepared provides a shortcut for creating something delicious in a hurry.”

Lesson 5: A Well-Stocked Pantry

“Food is a living thing. So you really have to know that even after it’s picked, it’s always changing every day. So you always want to taste first.”

 Lesson 12: Follow the Rhythms of Nature: Seasonal Eating

Alice Waters MasterClass pros and cons

While it’s truly a unique course on cooking, it might not meet everyone’s expectations. The strong focus on ingredients brings its own set of pros and cons.

Pros

  • Alice Waters is an energetic and charismatic teacher, and her attitude is infectious.
  • Following her approach to cooking makes it a lot more exciting than just settling for a “quick weeknight dinner.”
  • You build a strong foundation as a chef with a trained palate by following this approach, and you learn how to mix and match the flavors of in-season ingredients.
  • You learn how to make the most of the seasons and cook delicious meals with local produce to reduce your environmental impact.

Cons

  • The focus on farmer’s markets and fresh, organic produce means it’s not practical for everyone.
  • The course skips cooking technique basics like knife skills and sauteing.

Do I recommend this MasterClass?

Yes, I 100% recommend this MasterClass to any home cook with a little bit of experience — especially home cooks who feel like cooking is turning into a chore rather than a fun and rewarding hobby.

Even if you’ve never cooked anything beyond instant ramen before, as long as you’re interested in food, it could still help you start cooking for yourself.

Keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily about cooking techniques but transforming your entire approach to cooking, starting with how you choose your ingredients and decide on meals.

Transform how you cook and eat with Alice Waters’ MasterClass