Waters needed a water consultation, so she sent her general manager to see Mark Pastore at Incanto. With the arrival of their new decanters, bottled water at Chez Panisse is now became a thing of the past.
"It fits in perfectly with how we are thinking about food. We want to buy what's local," said Waters. "We want to support the people who are in close to the restaurant. We don't want to have to put that travel piece into the procurement of the food that we use at the restaurant."
Waters doesn't think it will be hard to pull customers away from bottled water. "We've always been in the education place at the restaurant. We are just going to say that this is important to do and I think you will be happy with the water we serve here. I think they will."
Both Waters and Pastore agree that using glass decanters rather than plastic bottles is good for the environment.
"One of these carafes lasts somewhere between 1500 and 200 servings before it breaks or chips," Pastore says. "If you think about somebody drinking 1500 bottles of water, and you think about surrounding ourselves with 1000 or 2000 bottles of water and you think about all the energy that went into making 2,000 bottles and shipping them around compared to the resources that went into making one carafe … That's where the real environmental savings for a system like this really lies," said Pastore.
"When you think about the cost to the environment to be hauling water," said Waters, "I mean, it is such a crazy idea. Halfway around the world. There is just something wrong about that."
If it seems like a paradox that Mark Pastore still imports the wine at his Italian eatery, he answers this way: "The question is, do you want to try to reduce your environmental impact to zero, or do you want to look and find places where you can do a little bit better?" he asks. "We think this is an area where the benefit of having a rare wine from Italy is much, much greater than having a rare water from the Swiss Alps."
So how does one serve a lovely glass of 'Eau de Tap?' Mark Pastore says it should be slightly chilled, not on the rocks. "Ice deadens the palette," Pastore cautions.
Another benefit of tap water? It contains a little 'twist' of fluoride that's good for your teeth.