Coming to the Taste: Ray Garcia

Ray Garcia gives gardening tips to high school student Max Marrone.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Ray Garcia is intimately familiar with the concept of field to fork. Not only does he shop twice a week for the ingredients for his Fig restaurant at the Santa Monica farmers market, he also spends uncounted hours of his free time teaching high school students about vegetable gardening, connecting them with a deep sense of where their food comes from.

Garcia came to Fig, located in the Fairmount Miramar Hotel, having spent time in the kitchens at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, Cyrus in Sonoma and the French Laundry in Napa Valley.

He describes the fare at Fig as “inviting and approachable,” and says “traditional bistro fare is comfort food,” he said. “I don’t want to make it stuffy and uncomfortable. I want the ingredients to stand out on their own, and sometimes you will get the best results by knowing when to leave them alone.”

Garcia will cohost the Field to Fork event at the Taste on Saturday, Sept. 1, and team with David LeFevre in the Market Basket challenge, in which each chef will invent dishes from the same set of ingredients. Tickets are $65 and are available, with more information, at the Taste website.