Chefs Get Their Hands Dirty

Napa chefs prove to be not only masters of the kitchen, but also that of the land.

A group of chefs from 8 participating Napa restaurants have transformed the city’s neglected downtown gardens into a flourishing source of fresh, seasonal produce- all to be savored in the dishes they serve.

With loss of what to do with the city’s abandoned gardens, Napa’s community development director asked Napa’s downtown chefs if they might be interested in working the land; an agreement met with fruitful enthusiasm. The garden permits the chefs to consistently control the food choices they offer while always being guaranteed of its high quality. Chefs reports that the garden is a great source of inspiration and is also very handy- as herbs are always on hand. Kitchen staff often run to the gardens for extra needed ingredients on a busy day.

Thomas Keller of French Laundry explains the role that the garden plays in his kitchen (largely considered the most celebrated kitchen in America): “First and foremost is the synergy it [the garden] creates with the restaurant and the individuals in the restaurant, the young cooks, the chefs, everybody. To look out over the garden and know that the vegetables that you’re working with that evening or that afternoon are coming from right across the street, were harvested that morning or that afternoon – it’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and pride.”

Mother Nature would be proud.

Some Wine Country restaurants with gardens:
The French Laundry: 6640 Washington St., Yountville. (707) 944-2380. frenchlaundry.com.
La Toque at the Westin Verasa: 1314 McKinstry St., Napa. (707) 257-5157. latoque.com.
Pearl: 1339 Pearl St., Napa. (707) 224-9161. therestaurantpearl.com.
ZuZu: 829 Main St., Napa. (707) 224-8555. zuzunapa.com.
Brix: 7377 St. Helena Hwy., Yountville. (707) 944-2749. brix.com.
Mustard’s Grill: 7399 St. Helena Hwy., Yountville. (707) 944-2424. mustardsgrill.com.

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