Chef Gardner follows a farm-to-fork philosophy
Salmon with Black Quinoa and Cherries
|Geoff Gardner, chef and owner of Sel de la Terre, makes good use of his wife’s yoga expertise when he finds downtime from his labor of love: leading his trio of bustling Sel de la Terre bistros. He loves that each restaurant has grown into its own personality, guided by a team of talented chefs who he encourages to create their signature rustic cuisine independently and collaboratively. The farm-to-fork philosophy of Sel de la Terre, or “salt of the earth,” emerged from this tutelage as Sous Chef to L’Espalier Executive Chef & Proprietor Frank McClelland, who is today a business partner.
A native New Englander, Gardner developed a love of cooking and gardening from his grandfather, who instilled in him a fascination in the variety and magnificence of food. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Boston University’s School of Restaurant Management, Gardner traveled extensively throughout France where he developed a passion for the bold, fresh, high quality food that is Provencal cuisine. Gardner’s enjoyment of fresh French breads became a catalyst for his passion for the science of bread making. The breads at L’Espalier became so famous that when creating the concept of Sel de la Terre, Gardner included a take-out boulangerie so that breads, morning pastries and lunches could be sold. Chef Gardner also enjoys gardening and enthusiastically embraced the decision to make Frank McClelland's Apple Street Farm a primary vendor of fresh eggs and produce for his restaurants.
Sel de la Terre has been named one of the “Top 100 New Restaurants in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler and one of the "Top 22 New Restaurants in the Nation" by Esquire Magazine. While he has received many culinary awards, Gardner is perhaps most proud of the title “mentor” to the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs in his employ. The former StarChefs’ “Rising Star” routinely devotes what little time he has to work with hospitality major undergrads from his alma mater as well as providing cooking demonstrations for local philanthropy.