California cuisine

Food tips you can trust


California cuisine
is special

California cuisine is an energizing, relatively new cooking style that has influenced cooks and diners around the nation.


Alice Waters

The birth year of California cuisine was 1971 when chef Alice Waters opened her now legendary Chez Panisse restaurant (see photo) in Berkeley. She was the first restaurateur known to emphasize all of the pillars mentioned below.

The six pillars that
collectively define
California cuisine

Fresh quality ingredients

California cuisine chefs use ingredients that are fresh and from trusted, quality local farmers and ranchers.


Cooks are encouraged to try new combinations of ingredients, even if it seems odd to mainstream America.

Unbound by written recipes

One seldom prepares anything exactly the same way twice. Because of this, it is difficult to create a meaningful compendium of truly iconic California cuisine recipes.

Preserving character

Cooks try to maintain an ingredient's look and natural flavor. In doing the latter, they avoid using too many ingredients in the same dish.


Presentation and taste are on equal footing - colors, shapes and other visuals count highly.

Quick and easy

Backyard grilling is a California passion and cooks prefer fast, not slow cooking. This explains why grilling is far more popular than roasting or charcoal-barbecuing meats.

Vegetables are more likely to be quickly steamed or parboiled than braised or stewed (and may seem undercooked by national values. Sauces tend to be simple, not involved.

Learn More

for next Californian Cuisine page

Learn my American tips
and insights on these pages

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America's 7 most famous
regional cuisines
Creole & Cajun
New England
Soul Food

Other renowned
American cuisines
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Midwest farm
Native American
Penn Dutch / Amish
Tex Mex

Related pages
Top 10 Famous American foods
American cuisine - The bad and good
American city specialties
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Top 10 travel wonders of America


Photo by Fred Benenson - CC BY 2.0



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