Traci Des Jardins
Chef Traci Des Jardins has been a force in the San Francisco food scene for two decades. A James Beard Foundation Award winner, philanthropist, and long-time supporter of the farm to table movement, Des Jardins runs three restaurants in the Presidio in partnership with the Presidio Trust – The Commissary, Arguello, and TRANSIT. We recently sat down to catch up with her.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently named The Commissary one of the Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area for 2015. Food editor Michael Bauer says he has to consider a restaurant a "destination" to make the list. What do you think makes The Commissary a great destination?
The location is certainly a huge draw, but I think there is magic as well in the building and overall feel of the restaurant. It's spacious and seems like someone's home, with an open kitchen that provides a warm, homey feeling for guests. I also think the Presidio is a great counterpoint to the ever-intensifying and increasingly dense city that San Francisco is becoming – there's a sense here that you're getting out of town without actually leaving the city.
In February, Top Chef chose to film a Quickfire Challenge at The Commissary (watch it here>>) . This month, the James Beard Foundation will announce its 2016 award nominees at Arguello restaurant in the Presidio Officers' Club. Do you think the Presidio is now on the food scene radar?
I would certainly hope so – though at the same time I love the idea of us being the hidden gem. We have a great local clientele, but it's certainly true that these two events will bring us into national focus.
As a two-time James Beard Award-winner, can you tell us how it felt to win?
My first Beard Award was over 20 years ago and I was a mere 28 years-old at the time! It was an absolute thrill and a culmination of years of very hard work. The second one was almost a decade ago and acknowledged my continuation of the standards which garnered me the first one. Both were an honor.
Are there any other events or activities coming up in your restaurants in the Presidio?
We're very excited to present our first brunch at The Commissary on Easter, followed by another one on Mother's Day. I know Robbie Lewis, Culinary Director of our three Presidio restaurants, will wow the crowd at his live cooking demonstration in May at his Presidio Dialogues event, The Harbinger of Spring.
Upcoming Food Events in the Presidio
Sunday, March 27: Easter Brunch at the Commissary
Wednesday, April 20: Wine Seminar at the Presidio Golf Course
Thursday, May 12: Presidio Dialogues - San Francisco and Her Historic Cocktails
Wednesday, May 18: Wine Seminar at the Presidio Golf Course
Thursday, May 19: Presidio Dialogues - Traci's Kitchen: The Harbinger of Spring