There was never any doubt that Fanny Singer would survive the academic challenges of Yale. But when the daughter of legendary chef Alice Waters left Berkeley, California, to start her freshman year in New Haven, Connecticut, her friends and family had one worry: How would she adjust to the food?
Fanny, after all, had an atypical childhood. Growing up at Chez Panisse, her mother's influential Berkeley restaurant, she was weaned on boudin blanc, grilled quail and wild-plum ice cream sandwiches. And once she could climb out of the stockpots that were her playpens, she spent her days running through the lemon verbena in her family's gardenactivities that were famously chronicled in the children's book Fanny at Chez Panisse.
"Living with my mother was such an aesthetic experience," Fanny says. "Everything was cooked in the fireplace. My send-off-to-college breakfast was an egg sizzled with olive oil in a long metal spoon held over the coals." Fanny remembers how she'd carry "a 10-pound lunchbox" to school, filled with Alice's big salads topped with prosciutto or fresh mozzarella, macerated fruit for dessert and linen napkins. "I never got teased," Fanny says. "Most of my friends were envious."