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Traci Des Jardins Daily Life

A Day in the Life of Traci Des Jardins

Traci Des Jardins is a San Francisco based chef and restaurateur. She has three very different eateries: upscale Jardinière, Mexican Mijita, and ballpark-based Public House. Her fourth restaurant, Manzanita, is in Lake Tahoe at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. You may recognize Jardins from Top Chef Masters, where she made it to the final episode. Here is what she did yesterday, Sunday, June 26.

7:00 a.m.: I was in Tahoe. I drove up Saturday evening and woke up on Sunday early.

8:00 a.m.: I spent the whole day in the kitchen working out new dishes with my chef and sous chef. We're working on debuting a whole new menu. It's going to be put in place on July 7th. The seasons up there are different; it's basically going from Winter to Summer.

11:00 a.m.: I was tasting food all day long. I tasted a dozen different dishes, so I didn't really have lunch or anything. I started with the breakfast dishes. I tasted the huevos rancheros from the new breakfast menu. I tasted the egg-in-a-hole — it's a new dish.


1:00 p.m.: From the lunch and dinner menu I tasted the halibut with sweet melon and cucumber. Let's see. We also tried the new sea bass dish with baby fennel and saffron potatoes.

To find out what else Traci ate and what she made herself for dinner, keep reading.

2:00 p.m.: There was a lot of stuff. I was tasting one dish after the other. The yellow tomato gazpacho; the crab-stuffed halibut. The steak banh mi sandwich. I take a bite and see if it needs to be changed. What else did I taste? The short rib slider, the rock shrimp tempura, the asparagus salad, the foie gras torchon, the chicken roulade with potato grits and white cheddar, the Mystic river salmon. The menu at Jardinière is always changing, but a restaurant in a hotel is different. You have to create special books and do a formal tasting for the entire staff to get to know the new dishes. It can't be done on the fly, so that's why I was there to make sure the dishes tasted how they are supposed to taste.

4:00 p.m.: I left the restaurant to head back home.

7:00 p.m.: I drove back down to San Francisco and had some friends in town from LA. Instead of going out, I decided to make dinner because things in the city were crazy from the pride parade.

7:30 p.m.: I stopped at Bi-Rite market to pick up dinner. I heard about this new farm-raised sustainable trout they're selling. I wanted to try it. It's from McFarland Springs. It was a huge trout — a couple of pounds. I was worried about how I was going to cook it because I didn't have a pan that was big enough. I ended up cutting the head off and roasted it in this big oval pan.

8:30 p.m.: For dinner, I made the trout, which was delicious with a classic caper, butter, and lemon sauce. I served it with roasted Summer squash with garlic and basil and roasted red fingerling potatoes. I might get the trout and put it on the menu in Tahoe.

11:30 p.m.: I went to bed around 11:30, which is really late for me. I guess I had a pretty full day!

Source: Flickr User SF Chefs

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