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2 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t What can you tell us about The Golden Door gardens and farmland? We're set on about 607 acres, where we farm well over 200 acres. On the very top of the mountain are about 500 olive trees planted around the lake, 25 of which are 30-plus-year-old trees that we res- cued. We've also got around 140 acres of citrus in addition to 75 acres of avocados, plus some large, empty tracts of land that could be used for large- scale farming. What makes the property so great for citrus is the DG [decomposed granite] and minerals in the soil, which are all great qualities for citrus, and what makes ours taste so special. What have been some of your biggest successes in the garden? We have so many beautiful products from the resort's gardens—citrus being one of them. Last year we experimented with tomatoes and planted 500 plants amongst the olive groves. This was new for both me and head gardener Wil Ryan, as it was closer to true farming on a large scale—a lot dif- ferent from the garden farming we do within the resort. The tomatoes did incredibly well, better than expected, so we ended up canning 1,200 pounds of mountaintop-grown tomatoes, which was quite an experience! If you are a culinary professional inter- ested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll, please email Jamie Simpson Executive Chef of The Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef's Garden in Huron, OH Greg Frey Executive Chef of The Golden Door in Escondido, CA We've partnered with Chef's Roll, the global chef and culinary professional network, to learn more about chefs from around the country. PHOTO: LYUDMILA ZOTOVA PHOTO: JAMES DOUGLAS SHIELDS PHOTO: JESSICA SAMPLE Locally grown produce and "farm to fork" is one of the hottest menu trends right now. Do you think more chefs/ restaurants are growing their own food than ever before? In my opinion, there have been several restaurants that claim to be "farm-to-fork" dining but have not depicted a clear representation of that. It's a term that has been over- used, but I encourage more restaurants to use local farmers, purveyors and vendors for their cuisine—that's something that is good for everyone, from the farmer to the diner and everyone in between. We live in such a beautiful city here in San Diego with an evolving food scene, and are fortunate in that there are many readily available products right here in our back yard. For many chefs, having a restaurant garden of their own is a dream. Which produce are you most looking forward to working with this season? I love being in the garden; it's such a calm and perfect place—it's fantastic to be able to go there and get inspira- tion for the dishes that eventually make their way to the menu. I'm most looking forward to harvesting root vegeta- bles—from sweet potatoes, to parsnips and squashes—and game meats—wild boar, rabbit, duck, pheasant, quail! Patrick Ponsaty Owner/Chef of The Grand Group & Ponsaty's Restaurant in Rancho Santa Fe, CA You were previously in a rock band before becoming a chef. How has that had an effect on your creative process? Imagine four notes in a chord, a harmony of independent tones work- ing together to produce something compelling, or comforting. Now imag- ine how many different ways those four simple notes can be arranged with rhythm and accents to conjure distinct emotions and traditions through cultures around the world. This is food—an ingredient is simply a note in a chord. A great dish is a great song, and a great restaurant is an absolute symphony. You are also Chef Liaison at The Culinary Vegetable Institute, a resource center helping cooks learn about vegetables. How has The Culinary Vegetable Institute put sustainability at the forefront? Last year, I certified the kitchen at The Culinary Vegetable Institute as a cannery. We can preserve our way through the seasons and make the most of what nature provides naturally and sustainably. For the operators out there, our food cost for 2016 averaged 23 percent. Every dish ever served is different from the last, and I purchase all of my ingredients from the farm as well as other suppliers. The 2017 focus is to produce a product line that is developed from potential agricultural waste and distributed at wholesale or retail through the hands at The Culi- nary Vegetable Institute. ■cr

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