Located in Healdsburg, California, Madrona Manor is the epitome of high-quality food coupled with a truly unique experience. Madrona Manor, both an inn and a restaurant, aims to provide the best in cuisine and customer service. Fresh-grown food, excellent wine, and a beautiful location create a sophisticated yet cozy atmosphere. Chef Jesse Mallgren offers garden-grown produce, cooked and served at the peak of freshness and flavor.
I was able to speak with Chef Mallgren to find out more about this unique menu that is both upscale and back-to-basics.
JL:What types of foods do you grow in your garden?
CM: All of my herbs; also asparagus, tomatoes, fava beans, summer squash, figs, green beans, raspberries, flowers, lettuces — basically anything where the flavor takes a large drop off after being picked. We also have a large selection of citrus trees.
JL: How do you incorporate your garden into the visitors’ dining experiences?
CM: The guests are free to wander around the garden before dinner. We mention what comes from the garden when we serve the food to our guests.
JL: In particular, what seasonal items are you growing and using right now?
CM: Minatuna, mustard greens, strawberries, raspberries, lemon verbena, watercress, tarragon, anise hyssop, lemons, beets, asparagus and green figs, which we pickle.
JL: How do the seasons influence your menu choices?
CM: I will change the menu as soon as something is perfect in the garden. I also know when a vegetable is nearing the end and I can start planning my next menu.
JL: Which fresh-grown ingredients inspire you most?
CM: Anything I cannot buy. I let cabbage plants go to flower, the flavors of the flowers are amazing! I do the same with arugula- their flowers are delicate and have a nutty flavor. Tomatoes still warm from the sun are amazing and at their peak in terms of flavor.
JL: What type of atmosphere do you aim to create in your restaurant?
CM: We aim to give our diners an exciting experience. I like surprises, so we give lots of treats between courses. The fun of the unexpected is something that makes everyone smile.
Photo: dylan + jeni photography, (c) 2012