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Chef Garcia:Great Power and Great Responsibility
Ray Garcia of Santa Monica, CA's Fig restaurant recently cooked his second annual Earth Day dinner at the James Beard House. Holy vegetables, Batman! (Forgive my giddiness, but I'm feeling inspired by the comic-book toy designer my husband and I had the pleasure of sitting with at the dinner.) For a spring harvest pot-au-feu, Garcia combined teeny carrots and turnips with—WHAMM!—rutabaga "bone" and potato-morel "marrow" that had the texture of buttercream. Fig's forager, who flew in produce from California, was lovely and very patient with my over-excited questioning: "You hunted the morels yourself?" (Yes.) "So is your job as awesome as I imagine it is?" (Yes.) "What kind of tomatoes are these? They're like candy!" (Sweet 100s.) And, lest I give the impression that the meat was of secondary importance, I should mention the bacon-wrapped bacon—the description of which would be redundant. The meal was a perfect example of letting the best ingredients fight your battles. Everybody wins.