Letterpress Beauty: Patricia Curtan, Chez Panisse.

Chez Panisse Menu Patricia CurtanBeauty in every hand carved linoleum block. The 120 year old cast iron Chandler and Price printing press demands nothing less and artist Patricia Curtan delivers perfection.

Patricia began working with Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in the early 1970s, while apprenticing during the day for acclaimed poster and graphic artist David Lance Goines.

Alice always had an appreciation for fine printing and would trade tasty Chez Panisse vittles for daily menus, a key detail in the iconic restaurant aesthetic.

Patricia began to dabble in special menus working with polymer type and linoleum wood blocks. She learned on the Chandler and Price press while apprenticing with Mr. Goines and it was love at first sight for her.

Chandler Price PressOver the past 40 years, Patricia has built quiet the portfolio. Menus dedicated to celebrated foodies like James Beard, MFK Fisher, Julia Child and Richard Olney; to government officials including First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Prince Charles; or a private birthday dinner for technology king Steve Jobs.

Patricia Curtan_Chez Panisse_MenusPatricia’s new book is an interesting window into the history of Chez Panisse and the people it touched.

The Potato King_Chez PanisseI love the honorable birthday meal for their potato infatuated friend. It was not a meal without a potato.

Dinner for James_Chez PanisseOr the dinner menu for food lover extraordinaire James Beard. Featured star of the night: young spring green garlic and the rare visit from James Beard of course.

Birthday Dinner Menu for Steve Jobs_Chez PanisseA private birthday dinner menu for late technology innovator Steve Jobs.

Dinner for Julia Child_Chez PanisseDinner for Ms. Julia Child.

Chez Panisse_New Years Menu

An non-celestial New Year’s themed menu, a rare one in the bunch.

School Benefit Luncheon_Chez PanisseLocal school fundraiser. Starting the kids off early for the appreciation of eating with the eyes first.

Dinner with Mikhail BaryshnikovDinner with famous ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.  Borage ravioli–so different!

And for those who like a bit of video, check out Patricia for the Authors at Google Series:

A few of my favorite googler questions included:

How far down the rabbit hole do you let yourself go for getting the perfect piece? I go far down the rabbit hole…

Have you ever had a typo?  Yes, plenty. I am good at making typos.  Your proof readers are a special group of people.

What is the life span of a menu in the restaurant? Just one rotation. It is yours to take with you.

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  1. hollysonoma says

    What an incredible combination – highly textured and personalized stationary and food that feels alive on your plate. These ladies bring our senses to full life…. as do your gorgeous photos!

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