fine food - Kitchen Gardens
Written by Craig Butcher
When ingredients travel direct from farm to plate, it’s not just the environment that benefits. Chefs producing seasonal menus that celebrate local ingredients experiment with what’s at hand to great effect. We highlight three luxury restaurants with their own garden supplying the kitchen.
Regularly considered among the top 20 restaurants in the world, Fäviken is extremely remotely located in northern Sweden. The benefits are obvious though – a surrounding 20,000-acre estate in which the rustic restaurant’s celebrated chef Magnus Nilsson roots, forages, and hunts for his ingredients. With the estate frozen for roughly half of the year, the chef brigade are expert at preserving its ingredients and presenting it honestly, equally matching the stunningly preserved natural environment surrounding the restaurant. At the forefront of new-wave Nordic cuisine, this restaurant needs booking well in advance.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, England
Situated in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside less than an hour’s drive from London, executive chef Raymond Blanc’s ‘house of four seasons’ has held two Michelin stars for 30 years. Blanc is the Frenchman the British love to call their own and is renowned for his modern take on classical French cuisine. The 32-bedroom luxury hotel's two-acre kitchen garden is certified organic and produces 90 types of fresh salads and vegetables, and 70 varieties of herbs. The 800 apple and pear trees complement Blanc’s fruit hedges bearing sloe berries and plums.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns, New York
Chef Dan Barber’s family operates in upstate New York. The research and innovation centre dedicated to farming practices also houses their famed restaurant, where ingredients are sourced from the surrounding fields and farms. There are no menus, but guests are offered the multi-taste Grazing, Rooting, Pecking menu featuring the best seasonal ingredients on offer at the time from the field and market. Expect between 10 and 20 courses, many of these small plates, with vegetables a central ingredient. Experience similar ingredients at the New York City outpost, Blue Hill New York.
The rise of the urban kitchen garden
City restaurants including The Dairy in London’s Clapham; Bell, Book & Candle in New York’s West Village; and Central in Peru’s capital Lima are proving just what can be achieved with rooftop gardens. From honey-producing bees to jalapeños, tomatoes, and herbs, avant-garde chefs are making it happen, wherever.