What do chefs plant in their gardens?


It's always informative to learn what chefs keep in their home kitchens. Sometimes the quality and breadth of those ingredients can invoke a twinge of inferiority for one's home pantry. The same can happen when you learn about what chefs grow in their garden. Or maybe it's just me. After reading Australian Gourmet Traveller's article on what chefs grow in their gardens, my vegetables and herbs seemed mundane.

For example, Chef Ben Shrewry of the world-famous Attica restaurant in Melbourne grows a plant that few people even know exists: murnong. Native to Australia and also known as yam daisy, " murnong was an important staple of the Australian Aboriginal people but almost disappeared with the introduction of grazing animals," Shrewry notes. The tubers are allegedly delicious when "lightly roasted or gently simmered to tenderness. The leaves are also excellent to eat and have a slight bitterness," says the chef. I will have to take his word for it. 

Analiese Gregory of Bar Brosé, Sydney, starts out with items like radishes and turnips that do not produce planting envy, but then she adds shiso, sweet cicely, bronze fennel and anise. My reliable mint and chives seem a bit dull in comparison.

Not all of the chefs grow exotic plants, however. Annie Smithers of Du Fermier plants good old-fashioned corn. She prefers an heirloom variety called Golden Bantam. Sean Moran of Sean's in Sydney loves to grow garlic, especially purple garlic. He harvests the scapes a couple of weeks before harvest to invigorate a last-minute growth spurt in the heads. 

Do you plant a garden? If so, what are your favorite edibles? 


  • lgroom  on  5/18/2017 at 11:38 PM

    Gotta have basil, chives, mint, cilantro, thyme and rosemary. This will be my first year in eons that I haven't had a real garden but I'm still putting out pots on my balcony.

  • Frogcake  on  5/20/2017 at 8:28 AM

    I always plant various types of tomatoes, beets, onions, zucchini, and peppers, as well as herbed -mint, rosemary, parsley, dill, lavender, oregano, and tarragon. Every year I have constant battles with ground hogs, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks eating my stuff. Every year their taste for greens vary a bit -to date my horseradish got chewed but I know it will grow back heartier and bigger. So, I would be grateful for any tips from chefs on how they respectfully deter wildlife from shredding the garden. (Soiled kitty litter and a resident fox or two have some effect.)

  • Jane  on  5/21/2017 at 12:12 PM

    Since I downsized I don't have a garden any more but do have a very large rectangular herb pot where I plant the herbs I use the most - parsley, mint, cilantro, chives, thyme, oregano, rosemary, dill, basil and sage. Because it is on a patio and the pot is 3 feet high I haven't had any issue with wildlife eating them.

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