Hyperlocal Restaurants and Recipes
The more mass, virtual, and disparate our culture, the more (I think) we look for provenance, care and thoughtfulness anywhere we can find it. Thus, the spate of gorgeous hyperlocal restaurants, bringing the ‘farm to table’ concept even closer – to the kitchen garden. Vegetables never tasted so good.
Also, a bit of a steer on taking the kids to art museums, a scrapbook, and cool gear from ECOALF, a Spanish brand we discovered that fashions things we want out of recycled stuff.
The farm-to-table concept has been around for a while, but many restaurants these days are taking it to the next level by growing their own produce, and in some cases, raising their own livestock. Veggies picked just steps from the kitchen mean a fresher plate, both in actual ingredients and concept, letting the harvest drive and vary the menu. Below are a few impressive destinations that are not only using food grown on the premises, but are really unique dining experiences in their own right.
De Kas is located in an old greenhouse, dating back to 1926, which was slated to be demolished but instead turned into this stunning restaurant and nursery. A bit out of the city center in Frankendael Park, it’s a calm and special location for dinner.
The set menus are based on the harvest of whatever’s growing in the nursery and garden. The dishes are prepared simply and elegantly.
Dine outside in nice weather, with views of the impressive edible garden or inside the giant greenhouse, designed by famous Dutch agency Piet Boon, with views of the nursery – (when we were there, there were around 13 varieties of tomatoes, hanging melons and more to gaze at).
Recipe from Head Chef, Bas Wiegel
In summer months, up to around 85% of each dish is grown on the premises. Head Chef Bas Wiegel lends us a recipe he’s made recently – the cauliflower, garlic and kale are grown by De Kas.
In summer months, up to around 85% of each dish is grown on the premises at De Kas in the Netherlands. Head Chef Bas Wiegel lends us a recipe he’s made recently – the cauliflower, garlic and kale are grown by De Kas.
Tom Colicchio recently opened a farm-to-table restaurant in the new The Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. It’s been a tough seat to get this season, but totally worth it.
The property’s one-acre farm, tended to by local farmer Jeff Negron, is the source of produce for the restaurant and inspires the seasonal menu. The hotel also offers farm tours, where guests are allowed to pick their own ingredients, which are then highlighted in a dish on the restaurant’s menu.
It’s so produce driven here that proteins are written in smaller font beneath the vegetable they accompany on the menu. In addition, guests are always welcomed to their rooms with seasonal snacks highlighting the bounty from the farm.
From the Topping Rose House Kitchen
Tom Colicchio and chef de cuisine Ty Kotz share a recipe from their kitchen.
Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, just 25 miles north of NYC, is a nonprofit farm and education center. It’s really a special place to visit for adults and kids alike. In addition to offering tours of the farm with a description of how it runs, there are a number of activities for visitors, with the intention of helping them become more engaged eaters.
You can help farmers collect eggs, pick up a farm bingo card and explore the vegetable fields or sign up for a farm-to-table cooking class. They are also courses and training offered here for those pursuing careers in farming.
Blue Hill restaurant opened at Stone Barns in 2004, and sources ingredients from the surrounding fields and pastures.
There are no menus at the restaurant. Diners are instead offered ‘Farmer’s Feasts’, multi-course meals featuring the best of what’s been harvested. In addition to using produce, eggs and meat from Stone Barns, Blue Hill is committed to supporting local farms and sustainable agriculture by sourcing ingredients from nearby Hudson Valley producers.
Recipe from Dan Barber
Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill, shares a recipe of a dish you could expect to find at the restaurant.
With perhaps the largest kitchen garden in Denmark, Michelin-starred chef Paul Cunningham and team gather veggies and herbs from the 4,000 square feet of fields just outside the kitchen door for their Nordic-inspired menu. The restaurant is located in an inn dating back to 1790, which still looks like a farmhouse from the outside. The recently-renovated (as of June 2013) interior houses an impressive photography collection, a few design-focused guest rooms and the 12-seat restaurant.
You can’t talk about Napa these days without talking about Christopher Kostow and The Restaurant at Meadwood. Kostow is doing amazing things with ingredients from the restaurant’s on-site garden, supplemented by produce, meat and fish from as close as possible for his haute Californian tasting menus.
A bit further away…
While not grown directly on the premises, the following restaurants have their own farms nearby to supply them with the freshest ingredients.
Alain Passard’s iconic Parisian restaurant began the trend of vegetable-based haute cuisine back in the 90’s and has been continuing with three Michelin stars ever since. His farm, outside of Paris, is run without the use of any mechanical equipment, but rather the fields are horse-plowed and veggies hand-planted and harvested.
Chef/owners of this celebrated Atlanta restaurant, Anne Quatrano and Clifford Harrison, own nearby Summerland Farms, which supplies the tasting menus with its seasonal bounty.
This Portland restaurant was so concerned with cooking with the freshest ingredients that they decided to grow them. Their five-acre farm, Skyline, is located just 12 miles from the restaurant.
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A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of spending the day working in London’s famous River Café, and it was incredible! The kitchen runs with a precision you would expect but a calm you perhaps would not.