The Famous Restaurant Samin Nosrat Got Her Start In

Some chefs know from an early age that they want to be a chef, or got an early start working at their family restaurant: Aaron Sanchez started working at his mom's restaurant in New York when he was just 13 while Jamie Oliver started helping out at his family's pub from the age of 5. Others, take a more roundabout approach: Gordon Ramsay wanted to play football, and it took a career-ending injury to lead him to culinary superstardom, while Ina Garten worked in the White House Office of Management and Budget before opening her cooking store, The Barefoot Contessa, which kicked off her cookbook and TV career (via Insider).

Samin Nosrat falls into the latter category. She catapulted to culinary fame with the 2017 publication of her first book, "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking," which then led to a popular cooking show with the same name on Netflix, and a James Beard award for both the cookbook and the show. Although Nosrat didn't start off with a desire to work in the culinary field — she wanted to write books — a memorable meal at a legendary restaurant changed the course of her career, and she would end up getting her start at that same restaurant.

Samin Nosrat got her start at Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse, which Alice Waters opened more than 50 years ago in Berkeley, has been called "arguably the most influential American restaurant in history" by Bon Appétit. It certainly had a big influence on the course of Samin Nosrat's life and career, and inspired her to get serious about food, which eventually became her chosen career field.

Nosrat was studying English literature at the University of Berkeley when she and her boyfriend saved up $220 for a meal at Chez Panisse. It was a life-changing meal, which prompted Nosrat to write Alice Waters a few months later detailing her thoughts on the meal and experience, and asking for a job as a busser, despite having no restaurant experience whatsoever. Having made an impression on the floor manager when she dined there, Nosrat got the job immediately (via The San Diego Union-Tribune). It was a job that Nosrat took so seriously that she ended up missing her college graduation because she had a bussing shift. Eventually, Nosrat got to work in the kitchen at Chez Panisse, and the rest is culinary history.