Chez Panisse veteran signs on as a guest cooking teacher at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley

Alan Tangren, who spent his childhood summers on the family farm in Chicago Park, worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley for 22 years and has contributed to books with the restaurant’s owner Alice Waters, is going to be a guest cooking instructor at Tess’ Kitchen Store in Grass Valley.

” I plan on utilizing his vast knowledge in a new ‘advanced’ or ‘expert’ series of cooking classes,” Tess’ owner Steve Rosenthal told our magazine.

Adds Alan: “I love cooking and passing along the traditions of farming, cooking and gathering around the table.”

Tess’ teaches popular cooking classes in a restaurant-quality kitchen at its store in Grass Valley, with Resident Chef Roberta DesBouillons, trained at Culinary Institute of America.

Alan grew up loving good food and cooking. He spent his childhood summers on the family farm in Chicago Park, where he helped produce peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, and pears, and a big vegetable garden. There he learned to appreciate the qualities of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables. His happiest hours were those spent learning to bake at his grandmother’s side.

After a first career as a research meteorologist, he decided to make the plunge into the food world in the early 80’s, landing at Chez Panisse in Berkeley and staying for 22 years. The first five years in the upstairs café then two years cooking in the downstairs restaurant were the best kind of culinary training. Every day the menu was different; working there was a true test of experience and intuition. There was no time for hand wringing or hesitation.

From 1991 to 1997 Alan was the Chez Panisse forager, where he initiated and sustained relationships with the farmers, ranchers, and other suppliers whose products helped shape the cooking at the restaurant.

In 1997 he became co-pastry chef at the restaurant and returned to the passions of his childhood. He was responsible for planning dessert menus for the restaurant and the café, including cakes, tarts, custards, cookies, ice creams and confections, and introducing new ideas and recipes for the restaurant. In addition he supervised production by the pastry assistants and sourced all the organic produce and other ingredients needed.

Chef at Robert Mondavi winery

From 1984 to 1991 while at Chez Panisse, Alan expanded his horizons as sous chef for the Great Chefs program at the Robert Mondavi Winery in the Napa Valley. There he worked with American chefs Julia Child, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Nancy Silverton and Bradley Ogden. French chefs included Gaston Lenotre, Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Georges Blanc and Alain Chapel.

In 2004 Alan returned to his “roots” and moved back to the family farm, but he has kept his hand in the food world, doing freelance catering and cooking demonstrations, contributing recipes and text for Chez Panisse books (the one pictured above is Fruit), and working as Food Director for a kids cooking program called Doof, food backwards!

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

You must be logged in to post a comment.