For some time now, any category restaurant boasts a menu with vegetables grown in own gardens, which allow the product to be controlled to the millimeter, when not offering varieties impossible to find elsewhere.
As the chef explained Ricard Camarena to Direct to the PalateHaving a garden allows chefs to grow the product without thinking about the economic performance, essential for any farmer, but only in its gastronomic result (which is what, already at the table, will generate profits).Live to the Palate In the garden with Ricard Camarena: "With organic farming has happened as with creative cuisine, we have abused"
The philosophy “From the field to the table” It is very widespread today, but it is more recent than it seems. The Cook Michel Bras He was one of the pioneers of this movement. In 1980 he created the gargouillou, his most famous dish, which includes about sixty ingredients among vegetables, herbs, flowers and buds cooked separately. Today seven chefs work for hours to create the gargouillou of the day, with the products that leave the restaurant's garden (photographed in the opening image).
Bras is one of the protagonists of Chef's Garden, a book recently published in Spanish by Phaidon, in which a tour of the orchards of Some of the most reputed restaurants in the world.
Although the book has a marked Anglo-Saxon bias - more orchards are listed in the United States and the United Kingdom than in any other part of the world - it is a very interesting tour of some of the leading gastronomic proposals Today, especially interesting for lovers of agriculture.
It is the chefs themselves who explain in great detail the techniques they use in their gardens, in addition to sharing some of the recipes they make with their production.
On the occasion of the arrival in Spain of the book, we have made a selection of eleven of the 40 restaurants that appear, including two spanish restaurants Selected: a particular round the world through impossible orchards, grown by chefs obsessed with the product.
Astrid and Gastón (Peru)
The Astrid y Gastón restaurant (led by the chef Gastón Acurio And his wife, Astrid Gutsche) It is built on a 17th-century farm, which is today in the middle of the financial district of Lime.
The farm has greenhouses and a circular botanical garden. Part of its tasting menu is based on what is grown on the property, from which all kinds of Peruvian chili peppers and native herbs, but also borage or potato. The chefs collect on the spot what they need to prepare the dishes of the day.
As Acurio himself explains in Che's gardenf, “one of the intentions of the garden was always that, thanks to the restaurant, the house will connect with his past from the hacienda, as a place of contact with nature and its products ”.
The restaurant commanded by the chef of Argentine origin Mauro Colagreco He was considered the best in the world in the latest edition of the 50 Best Awards and his garden is, according to the chef, "The spiritual heart" of the project.
“The garden is behind my house and only five minutes walk from the restaurant,” explains Colagreco. “Seven years ago, Laure, the horticulturist, started with five pots and since then the garden It has been expanding year after year, transforming the neglected terraces, one after another, into plots. ”
The microclimate that is generated in this area of the Côte d'Azur allows cultivation tropical species like bananas or alquenquejes, impossible to plant anywhere else in France. But Colagreco's greatest passion is tomatoes, of which he grows up to 40 varieties per season.
After its reconstruction in 2012, the chef-led restaurant Eneko Atxa He made the garden the cornerstone of the project.
As Atxa explains, the restaurant has two different growing areas: a glazed rooftop greenhouse and an orchard that extends beyond the restaurant, to the surrounding hillside.
A rainwater tank Closed covers 100% of the annual irrigation needs, both for the outdoor garden and for the greenhouse, and also functions as a resource for fire protection.
Hisa Franko (Slovenia)
Located in a country house, in the fertile Soca Valley, in Slovenia, three generations live and run the Hisa Franko restaurant. Your chef, Ana Ros, Create a new tasting menu every night with what you collect from the surroundings. Few restaurants can boast serving fruit collected just before the service.
“We are aware that we cannot be self-sufficient, but in Slovenia everyone has an orchard, everyone is a collector, ”explains Ros. "It is not a matter of fashion: we are farmers for a cultural issue."
The way in which the orchards are cultivated in the country can surprise in other parts of the world, and it is here that, perhaps due to the abundance of water, a less formal horticulture, more rugged. An example: Ros uses for his salads purslane, which in Spain is considered a weed.
Iceland's climate is not ideal for maintaining an orchard, but the chef Gisli Matthias Auounsson He manages to serve his diners vegetables and cultivated tubers just a few kilometers from the Arctic circle.
“The garden is only active as of May, when we sow the seeds and transplant; later, these crops are harvested in July and August, ”says the cook. Therefore it is important to move forward in canning techniques, which Auonsson dominates like nobody else.
Although he cannot depend 100% on his vegetable production, the chef ensures that 35% of the restaurant's products come from the garden and 30% of wild herbs, algae and fruits of the forest are collected daily.
Twins Garden (Russia)
The Twins Ivan and Sergwy Berezutskiy They are in charge of this restaurant in Moscow whose short-term goal is to be completely self-sufficient. Although the establishment is located in the city center, it has its own farm on the outskirts, with an area of 50 hectares and 17 greenhouses, in which 150 types of vegetables, berries and herbs are grown, which grow alongside goats and dairy cows, with whose milk they make cheese.
“Our goal is to obtain top quality products, as well as recover forgotten varieties and create new ones,” the chefs explain in The chef's garden. “In Russia, many traditional varieties of vegetables have been lost over time. To discover old strains, we work closely with private specialized laboratories ”.
Our colleague María Llanos had the opportunity to taste the cuisine of the Berezutskiy twins thanks to a residence held this summer at the restaurant of Paco Roncero, the Casino Terrace. So far, came the twins loaded with products from their garden, as well as vegetables such as tropical melons or tomatoes that you can't find in Muchamiel. "To highlight their dishes with crab," says Llanos. "Unforgettable for those who try it."
Hells's Backbone Grill & Farm (USA)
This restaurant, commanded by the chefs Jen Castle and Blake Spalding, It is located in a practically desert area, both environmentally and demographically. The town in which the restaurant is located, with only 250 inhabitants, is located more than four hours from the state capital, Salt Lake City, and 1920 meters altitude, which makes it difficult to maintain a farm, constantly exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations: there may be a snowstorm in the middle of June.
Despite these climatic conditions, not very generous for a gardener, Castle and Spalding have managed to collect more than 9,000 kg of fruits, vegetables and herbs a year. The secret to achieving such production in such a hostile climate lies in Quickly adapt the garden to each weather whim. "If the peas refuse to leave when it is hot, it is useless to wait for them to change their minds: it is better to plow them and plant lettuce," the cooks explain. "If the tomatoes have not matured and a frost is approaching, we collect them and put fried green tomatoes on the menu."
The garden that Andoni Luis Aduriz Since the beginning of Mugaritz, in an old hamlet near San Sebastián, it has always been one of the hallmarks of one of the most avant-garde restaurants in the world.
"Twenty years later, Mugaritz's garden doesn't seem like a choice, but the only way in which the project could have developed an identity, ”Aduriz explains in the book. "After this first incursion, nature became the cornerstone of our philosophy."Live to PaladarAndoni Luis Aduriz: "The day that there are no people who leave annoying Mugaritz will mean that we have become conventional"
In the orchard, of 350 m2, there is space for everything, although the huge presence of flowers. "When the table is full of aromatic geraniums, rau-ram (Vietnamese coriander, Persicaria odorata) and anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is the precise moment in which nature, cuisine and diner converge ...", Aduriz says.
The Dairy (United Kingdom)
Irish chef Robin Grill opened The Dairy, in the London neighborhood of Clapham, with the idea of creating an urban garden in conditions, which could supply the restaurant with at least herbs and salad.
“I have been fortunate to work in establishments that have their own farms and orchards, so although now I am not in a rural environment as in the restaurants that inspired me, I was sure that I wanted to grow my own products, ”explains Grill.
To maintain a garden in the city you have to be more careful than in the countryside, because all resources are limited. Currently, for example, the restaurant prepares compost with the remains of food left by diners on their plates.
The cuisine of this restaurant, located in the Bornholm Island -a territory belonging to Denmark, but located in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of Sweden and Poland-, is based on everything that can be grown and harvested on their land. "What we cook is not only Nordic cuisine, but Bornholm cuisine," says the chef, Nicolai Norregaard.
The small garden of 50 m2, 1.5 kilometers from the restaurant, it was progressively expanding, until occupying a hectare today, in which tomatoes, lettuce, hops, herbs or rhubarb grow, in addition to a dozen fruit trees.
As in all orchards located in cold climates, the season is very short, and it is essential to master conservation techniques. "During the months of greatest abundance we pick, cure, ferment, dry and smoke like crazy, in addition to making spirits, syrups, oils and vinegars," says Norregaard.
Vegetables are a fundamental part of the menu of this innovative restaurant, located in the wealthy neighborhood Polanco neighborhood, one of the most lustrous of the DF. Two years after its opening, its cook, Jorge Vallejo, decided to install a garden on the roof of the premises, but soon a reality bath took place: 12 m2 are not enough to cover the needs of a restaurant.
Vallejo then transformed the garden into a kind of laboratory, in which he investigates especially with edible flowers and aromatic plants, which he uses in his kitchen, but also tries new varieties of vegetables that, if they fit in the restaurant, asks that they be planted on a larger scale in external farms, located in the rural areas that remain in the DF itself.