Greens Restaurant celebrates its 40th year of nourishing the Bay Area community and visitors from around the world. Through the march of generations and amidst an ever-changing San Francisco dining scene, Greens Restaurant has remained steadfast in its original mission of celebrating vegetables with an intentional practice of being of service, an important value system set forth by its founders, the San Francisco Zen Center. Focusing on six important values of Generosity, Patience, Virtue, Energy, Focus, and Connection, Greens Restaurant has partnered with six acclaimed Bay Area chefs to serve guests in a special dinner series that will take place once a month starting this July.
The Greens 40th Anniversary Acclaimed Chef Dinner Series features an unprecedented lineup of renowned chefs, including: Alice Waters (Chez Panisse), Reem Assil (Reem’s California), Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen), Suzette Gresham (Acquerello), Pam Mazzola (Prospect), and Kim Alter (Nightbird). These six Bay Area chefs will each design a vegetarian four-course prix fixe meal inspired by historic menus archived from the last four decades of Greens. Each menu will be offered at $85 per person with optional wine or beverage pairings. Tickets can be purchased via greensrestaurant.com. Details of the menus, the underlying core values and themes, and the connection between Greens and the guest chefs will be announced in advance of each monthly dinner.
Along with the milestone 40th Anniversary, Greens’ dinner series celebrates the meaningful ecosystem of interconnectedness — uniting a vital community network of diners, chefs, farmers, and artisanal purveyors from the Bay and regional lands. The kinship of land, food, and people has been the very foundation of Greens since 1979 and will be honorably showcased at each forthcoming 40th anniversary guest chef dinner.
With gratitude, Greens invites you to join the celebration of its heritage and ongoing mission.
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 — Reem Assil — Reem’s California
In 2010, the dream of Reem’s was born at the doorstep of a street corner bakery in Beirut, Lebanon. The scent of za’atar, yeasted bread, and sweet orange blossom syrup right out of the oven and the sounds of laughter and chatter in Arabic all around Reem Assil conjured up memories of her childhood and yearning to create home and community in the United States. Witnessing the life inside those bakery doors despite the political turbulence outside of them is when she realized her people are masters of bread and hospitality: the lifeline of their history and what has kept them resilient over many generations despite colonization, war, drought, and famine in the Arab world. In the fall of 2016, Reem Assil won the national OpenTable contest to fund their dream restaurant, and six months later, they opened their first brick & mortar location in the heart of Fruitvale in one of the most diverse communities in Oakland. Since then, Reem has garnered an array of top accolades, including being named a James Beard semifinalist in the Best Chef: West in 2018 and 2019, Thrillist’s “2018 Chef of the Year,” San Francisco Magazine’s “2018 Chef of the Year,” San Francisco Chronicle’s “2017 Rising Star Chef,” and most recently, Star Chefs “Rising Star Chef 2019.” Reem’s California was also named one of Food & Wine’s “2018 Top 10 Restaurants of the Year.”
Monday, August 5, 2019 — Alice Waters — Chez Panisse
Alice Waters is a chef, author, food activist, and the founder and owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. She has been a champion of local sustainable agriculture for over four decades. In 1995, she founded the Edible Schoolyard Project, which advocates for a free school lunch for all children and a sustainable food curriculum in every public school. She has been Vice President of Slow Food International since 2002. Her honors include election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007; the Harvard Medical School’s Global Environmental Citizen Award, which she shared with Kofi Annan in 2008; and her induction into the French Legion of Honor in 2010. In 2015, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama, proving that eating is a political act, and that the table is a powerful means to social justice and positive change. Alice is the author of 16 books including her critically acclaimed memoir, Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook, The New York Times bestsellers The Art of Simple Food I & II, and The Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 — Suzette Gresham — Acquerello
Acquerello’s co-owner and Executive Chef, Suzette Gresham, has led an incredibly accomplished career, receiving countless awards and accolades. Her achievements, however, have never deterred her from the ultimate goal as a chef — to make her guests happy. Gresham’s enthusiasm in the kitchen and tenacious personality led to the opening of Acquerello with business partner Giancarlo Paterlini in July 1989. Since that time, Acquerello has held a spot every year on the San Francisco Chronicle’s Top 100 Bay Area Restaurant List. The restaurant received its first Michelin star in 2007, and was awarded a second star in 2014. Today, Gresham is known as a pioneer in the culinary industry and has become one of the most influential chefs in the world of Italian fine dining. Her understated yet elegant approach to traditional Italian dishes showcases her culinary philosophy; that simplicity and preserving the integrity of food speaks volumes.
October 7, 2019 — Kim Alter — Nightbird
Kim Alter is the driving force behind Nightbird and Linden Room, which she opened August 2016 in the bustling Hayes Valley neighborhood as one of the most highly anticipated restaurants of the year. Nightbird, named for Alter’s love of owls, embraces community and diversity, and consistently delivers a hospitable, whimsical experience. Alter showcases the Bay Area’s bounty of produce with layered, flavorful dishes reflecting her commitment to technique, whole animal cooking, and unyielding support of the region’s farmers. Alter earned a Food & Wine Magazine nomination for People’s Best Chef in 2012 and 2013. In 2018, Alter was a James Beard Award semifinalist for “Best Chef: West.” Alter formerly worked with the Daniel Patterson Group for three years at the helm of kitchens such as Haven and Plum in Oakland, California. Prior to that, she worked in some of the Bay Area’s most notable restaurants such as Manresa (three-star Michelin), Aqua (two-star Michelin), and Acquerello (two-star Michelin). Alter won the title of “Best New Chef” from Oakland Magazine while at Haven, which was also named “Best New Restaurant” under her direction and awarded three stars from San Francisco Magazine.
Monday, November 4, 2019 — Tanya Holland — Brown Sugar Kitchen
Known for her inventive take on modern soul food, as well as comfort classics, Executive Chef Tanya Holland is the owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen. Chef Holland is the author of the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook and New Soul Cooking; was the host and soul food expert on the television series Melting Pot; and competed on the fifteenth season of Top Chef. Holland appeared as a special guest on countless national television shows including the Today Show, Vh1’s Soul Cities, Sarah Moulton’s Cooking Live, Ready, Set, Cook! The Wayne Brady Show, and has been featured in articles in The New York Times, O The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Travel & Leisure, and Sunset just to name a few. Holland shares her love of modern Southern fare by bringing home her passion for soul food and the amazing experiences shared through the act of enjoying a meal with family and friends.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019 — Pam Mazzola — Prospect
Hailing from Denver where she cooked in many of the city’s top kitchens, Pam Mazzola first joined Chef Nancy Oakes at San Francisco’s L’Avenue in 1988. Their meeting launched a friendship and culinary partnership that has endured for over twenty years. Mazzola was part of the opening staff of Boulevard and is a co-author with Oakes on the James Beard Award-nominated Boulevard Cookbook. Prospect is a collaboration of Chef Nancy Oakes, Pam Mazzola, and Kathy King from Boulevard Restaurant. As chef/partner in Prospect, Mazzola works closely with the team, guiding the overall direction of the restaurant with a focus on menu development. Located at the base of the Infinity Towers in downtown San Francisco, Prospect features exceptional contemporary American cuisine with local, sustainable, and organic ingredients while hosting diners in a warm and modern urban environment with high service standards.
About Greens Restaurant
Greens Restaurant pioneered vegetarian cooking and paved the way for establishing it as a cuisine in America. In 1979, the San Francisco Zen Center opened Greens to provide an opportunity for Zen students to work together and extend their practice to the workplace. For many years, the entire staff at Greens were Zen students. Founding Chef of Greens, Deborah Madison, was a student at Zen Center for 18 years where she held a host of kitchen positions. In 1981, Annie Somerville joined the restaurant and trained with Madison. Somerville became Executive Chef in 1985, and has since continued to work closely with local growers, cheesemakers, and purveyors, to serve and celebrate seasons and their bounty. San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm provides the restaurant with organic produce year-round from its farm and garden. Green Gulch Farm has been a model of sustainable organic farming and gardening.
Occupying a former Army warehouse in Fort Mason, the restaurant is adorned with floor to ceiling windows and quintessential views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin headlands and The Marina. The space was constructed by carpenters from the Zen Center, including lead designer Paul Discoe, an ordained Zen Buddhist priest, using reclaimed wood and recycled material. Central to the familiar dining room are works by local Bay Area artists: a curving three-ton, tour de force of woodcarving, redwood installation by J.B. Blunk, original landscapes hanging on the walls by painter Willard Dixon, and specially made service areas and entryway by designer Jason Lees.