Jeff Hilson is passionate about the soil, the water and even the air that food is grown in. And he's begun constructing a garden in the back of the Laurenzo's. Guests will eventually be able to eat vegetables from the garden at tables sitting right in the middle of it. This is just the beginning of a massive project that is going to be getting a lot of people's attention.
I am pretty sure Laurenzo's is doing something that nobody else in the scene is doing right now. Hilson's garden will be totally sustainable, utilizing rain water and vegetable compost from its own kitchen. The ideas Hilson has for the garden are limitless, and his energy and excitement are inspiring. In the coming months, the garden will be finished and a menu will be designed to reflect what is grown there.
Mike Nutt, the chef de cuisine at Laurenzo's, is a longtime advocate of local ingredients and a big believer in using natural, sustainable foods. I met both Nutt and Hilson ten years ago when I was a sous chef for Monica Pope's Boulevard Bistrot and they were working for Scott Tycer at Aries. Hilson was growing micro greens in the back and cooking on the line, and Nutt was the sous chef leading the kitchen. I was always intrigued by what they were doing with food.
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As soon as the garden is complete and they are taking reservations, I will be there to sit in the garden and have lunch.