Birthdays have never meant very much to me, but this one is special. One of the most important restaurant in the history of American cooking, Chez Panisse, celebrates its fortieth year. Chez Panisse, the brainchild of Alice Waters, opened its doors in 1971 and was almost single-handedly responsible for the birth, or at least the maturity, of California cuisine. With a focus on good-quality, fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients, California cuisine is not about complexity, but about simplicity. It is all about making the most out of the best ingredients, allowing their flavours to shine and to combine harmoniously.