Growing up in the garden
Amidst the ever changing times of 2021, we had a new member join our team, Chef Rachel! We want to share her beautiful cooking journey & how working in the kitchen at Pineridge Hollow fully embraces her philosophy around food & creativity.
A Homegrown Passion
I have been learning about cooking since the day I was brought home from the hospital, my mom always had me in a carrier on her chest while cooking in the kitchen. I can't remember an age where I wasn't in a kitchen or garden. I spent a lot of time with my Oma & Opa, and Oma would always be tending to her one acre garden or cooking in the kitchen. There was lunch, afternoon snack and dinner (including desserts) that needed to be made everyday and I would always be by her side helping. Once a year we would go visit my grandparents in on their farm in Southern Idaho and once again my help would be needed in the kitchen. While we were there we also got to pick fresh cherries, peaches, apricots and pears in the canyons. With my family there was always canning, preserving and freezing to be done during garden season and harvest.
"My love for food and good quality, fresh and local ingredients was born at a very young age."
Farm To Table Philosophy
I had been coming to Pineridge hollow as a customer for years because I always felt it was a magical place to be, and it truly is. Working at Pineridge Hollow fits perfectly with my philosophies and cooking goals. It allows me to work with many local producers as well as the Oak Knoll Farm. Having deliveries of fresh veggies and fruits from our own gardens as well as seeing the humane and happy lives that the animals get to live on our farm is inspiring and something that as a chef, I had always dreamed of. Better yet, we get to work with a farm that is giving back to the earth in its belief and practices.
"It is such an honour to work with food that you know is not destroying the planet but rather making it a better place to leave to the generations that come."
I get to work closely with the farm and design menus around what we have. As a chef working in a farm to table restaurant, it keeps you on your toes and requires the creative juices to always be flowing. You have to be able to take an overabundance of a crop if it produces more than expected and figure out how to incorporate it into a menu. You also need to be able to readjust and come up with a substitution for a dish quickly if one of the crops does not produce well.
We are also fortunate enough to have kitchen staff working on and visiting the farm on a regular basis - they get to see how much work goes into growing and harvesting which gets the staff excited as well and gives them a renewed respect for foods. Knowing this changes your entire look out on the food you consume and makes every bit and leaf of lettuce mean that much more to you.
Inspired By Fresh
I am inspired by the flavours of each ingredient. It really does start with seeing the product you have and finding the best way to highlight it. I truly believe in the layering of flavours and textures to hit every note on your palate while you eat. While narrowing it down to one or two favourite ingredients is almost impossible, I love all fresh herbs, and good, garden grown vegetables. Garlic and onions are a favourite because they can add so much to any kind of dish and can be used in any cuisine. They are used around the world and they have such a major impact on the flavour of a dish, it is definitely something that you will notice when it is missing.
You can try one of Rachel's favourite dishes on the menu right now by ordering from our To Go Menu!