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  • Writer's picturePark & Evans

The story of Lulu Peyraud

Our restaurant is named after Lulu Peyraud, of Domaine Tempier. We sat down with Alice Waters to talk about her close relationship with Lulu and reminisce on her fondest memories.

How did you meet Lulu Peyraud?

I met Lulu through a mutual friend way back in the mid 70s. All of a sudden I was invited to Domaine Tempier and we just immediately fell in love. I guess part of it was the beauty of the estate, my love of the wines they were making, and when I saw her kitchen! But it was way more than that - her hospitality. There was a fireplace, and she would bring in the wood and make a fire in the morning first thing. And, we would tag team by the fire. She would make a lunch table to have her big meal of the day, and if somebody just walked in that she didn't expect she'd invite them to the table and put down another place setting. And it was that way, right to the end of her life.

She had this sense of hospitality, that really made me think about everything differently. I think she thought of me as one of her daughters and I loved that, that sense of family. And I’ve always tried to have that be a part of Chez Panisse and of course here at LULU. She swam in the Mediterranean every morning, which is too cold for me, and she had two swings in the yard. When I went to see her, just about a year before she died, we went swinging together. She could do that; we had something that was physical that she felt empowered by, it was her exercise for the day, which I loved. She kept up her practice of bringing in the wood in the morning, she didn’t ask anyone else to do that.

And so I think about that as I get older, that I want to be doing meaningful work. And I talk about that always.

Why did you want to open LULU?

I wanted to open LULU because I am hoping that the University of California will really change its procurement to regenerative, organic food. I know the power of procurement but I think its important to engage people in that conversation while they're eating the food that is regenerative and organic. When Ann Philbin asked me if I wanted to open a restaurant here, I thought how wonderful to be outside in a garden center; but I also thought, because its part of the University of California, that I can invite people here to talk about those ideas that address climate, and of course, health.

What do you hope people feel when they walk into the restaurant?

When people come in to LULU, I want them to feel like in a way they are a part of the restaurant. They’re our guests, yes, but I want them to have a greater sense of belonging. I want them to feel comfortable about asking questions about the food, 'Where did this come from? Will I like this? Do you have anything else?' And if need be the chef can come out into the dining room or they can go into the kitchen.

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