The General’s Daughter is a restaurant that is trying to stand above its Bay Area brethren. The restaurant’s web site and its reviewers promote its southern take on California cuisine but it’s the restaurant’s procurement philosophy that might be its greater point of distinction. In the land of fresh and organic ingredients prepared simply, The General’s Daughter (TDG) and its chef, Preston Dishman, want to take control of their supply chain and grow their own ingredients. This might be an early trend that a few iconic North American (and French) restaurants have started trailblazing with both philosophical and economic intentions.
Technically, TDG is not growing the vegetables themselves; they have partnered with Benziger Family Winery and “promise that 90 percent of the restaurant’s produce will come from Benziger’s biodynamic gardens.” Biodynamic farming is likened in many circles to voodoo and witchcraft but, despite the practices and philosophies behind it, a biodynamic farmer is likely to care for their land more so than the average farmer – respecting the inputs and outputs.
My main exposure to biodynamic vegetables, aside from that miracle bottle of 90 La Tache at Montrachet, is my (seemingly) monthly tasting menu at Manresa. While people will argue whether vegetables have terroir or not, there’s no denying the stunning achievements of those vegetables from the Love Apple Farm. Is it the land, the farmer, or the perfectionist chef? More likely, it’s a synthesis of the three but these are questions that will be asked as more restaurants try the model.
I’m unsure if TDG is where they want to be yet – I suspect they are early in the path they’ve chosen. Regardless, like any self-respecting Bay Area restaurant, they take their produce sourcing seriously. Here’s a video with their main forager.
Outside of philosophy, how was the meal and why was I there?
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