Chef Raj Dixit of Stonehill Tavern, the Michael Mina restaurant at the St. Regis Monarch Beach resort, is a serious meat cook. But like all the best chefs, he’s equally or more inspired by vegetables.
Dixit’s taking his vegetable love to a more serious level this spring, with even bigger plans as summer crops burgeon. He’s calling it his Backyard Program—all the produce used will be from within a 15- or 20-mile radius from the resort. San Clemente’s VR Green Farms is a main supplier, of vegetables owner Nic Romano grows himself as well as products from other Southern California farms.
The first Backyard Program dish debuts Thursday, May 1: a salad with Easter egg radishes, Soledad goat cheese, and red quinoa ($15). The radishes are from Happy Heirloom Farm in Vista, and aren’t just multi-colored—they’re biodynamic. I’ve been wondering when vegetables grown using this ultra-sustainable, holistic method would appear locally. No surprise that chef Dixit is on the vegetable cutting edge.