'Gourmet Ghetto' Has Got To Go, Alice Waters Says

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September 17, 2019 - 10:37 am
: Alice Waters smiles in the Virgin Australia Domestic Lounge at Hobart International Airport on November 13, 2014 in Hobart, Australia.

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Berkeley's "Gourmet Ghetto" should change it's name, according to Alice Waters, the chef who helped put the block on the culinary map. 

Waters told the San Francisco Chronicle that "I have never liked it [the name] from the very beginning."

Her world-famous restaurant Chez Panisse, on Shattuck Avenue of course, opened in 1971. The original Peet's Coffee and Cheese Board collective existed nearby. Eventually, the moniker Gourmet Ghetoo came into existence, but its exact origins are unknown, the Chronicle reported. 

Waters told the Chronicle that she disliked both the use of gourmet, which suggests potential snobbery about food, and ghetto, because of its historical connotations. 

The unofficial name of the dining destination became part of a debate when a co-founder of Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters opened a new shop in the area. Nick Cho told Berkeleyside that the name was inappropriate because of how the word ghetto had been used pejoratively in relation to African-American communities. 

Some residents and food writers came out strongly against abandoning the name.