Alice Waters: They were so proud of me. It’s so great when your parents really support you, but that you are so grateful to them for doing so. My parents have always had a garden, and my father had a feeling he could help me with the restaurant. I resisted it at first. But he came in, and he was so patient. He worked with our staff. He just introduced all of his organic, if you will, management skills. And he said — one of the things he said is, “You have to say, Alice — you can’t order people to do things. You have to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ And you have to tell them what they do well first, before you tell them what they don’t do so well — and how they can improve.” And I have really tried to practice what he proposed.
I have never really managed the restaurant. We had a little group of us, and we divided up the management between the dining room manager, the café manager, the bar manager, the main cook in the kitchen, the main pastry person, and we all had our jobs. It was somebody also in the office. My father set up that group, too. He called it the ops group.