Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto Food History: A Video Tour

Berkeley, California is known as the birthplace of “California cuisine,” at least the kind using farm-direct, simple ingredients. Our friend Frieda DeLackner grew up in this luscious area and captured some of Berkeley’s unique food heritage on a fun short video, taking you on a tour through Chez Panisse to the Cheese Board Collective, famous for its wonderful 1 seasonal organic pizza flavor per day, its vast cheese selections and homemade pastries and bread.

When you’re coming to the San Francisco Bay Area, we suggest watching the video and checking out our Berkeley food tour guide (which takes you to some fantastic food crafters’ shops).

A Q&A With the Gourmet Ghetto Girl

What are your fondest memories of the Gourmet Ghetto?

When the Cheese Board was still in the small storefront on Vine Street — the same street where Peet’s Coffee first popped up — they had a wonderful sandwich made of something like zucchini bread and cream cheese and it was my favorite sandwich for years and years. I still dream about it.

I developed my love for food from the Gourmet Ghetto. I learned my love of chocolate from Cocolat, my love of good bread, cheese and pizza from the Cheese Board Collective, and my passion for organic, sustainably grown food from Chez Panisse.

What’s the best way to experience Chez Panisse?

My favorite way thing to do at Chez Panisse is to go with at least 4 people and order a bunch of appetizers and share them, so you get a taste of most of the salads, if not all. I generally become possessive of my entree, however, and generally don’t do as much sharing at that point.

Why do you think the Gourmet Ghetto is so special?

When I interviewed people, most everyone spoke passionately about the commitment to using sustainably and locally grown, organic ingredients. But that wasn’t all, they also spoke about how the different businesses were all working together to build a community, and it’s that camaraderie that is one of the factors making the area special. That and really great food!

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