To use seasonal fresh produce, meats and delicacies from local farmers, ranchers and artisans to create delicious comfort food for the soul.
I became passionate about food as a young vegan looking for ever-more palate-pleasing answers to the question ‘what's for dinner?’ Since making food seems to naturally invite a party, I began hosting gatherings in college, sharing dishes with, and sometimes testing them on, friends. These parties continued into graduate school at Berkeley where, it’s fair to say, my mind was blown by California’s culinary culture. The variety. The mash-up of cultural influences. The focus on ingredients. (Thank you Ms. Waters.) Aside from my academic studies, I pretty much devoted my energies to food and wine— exploring, tasting, experimenting, learning. Counting my pennies to dine at Chez Panisse and countless other innovative amazing restaurants, food trucks, shacks, pop-ups, kitchen tables, you name it. One PhD later, on a completely unrelated topic, my passion for all things culinary only seemed to grow. That journey led me to culinary school where I earned a degree in professional cooking from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. Incidentally, I’m no longer vegetarian. Now I’d describe myself as a righteous omnivore.
I’ve since honed my skills working in restaurants and catering in Chicago, Miami's South Beach and Los Angeles. My cooking incorporates flavors and techniques from around the country and the world, from my hometown to my travels through Europe, Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and California, too. I borrow shamelessly from everywhere, tweaking things here and there to make them my own. But it all starts with quality ingredients. Seasonal. Local. Fresh. Multicultural. That, to me, is California Cuisine.
I eventually left economic consulting and teaching and moved to a teeny-tiny ‘ranchette’ in Mendocino County. Calling upon chef Alice Waters’ inspiration, which has been tucked inside me for many years, I planted a small garden and started Good Earth Kitchen with the mission of creating delicious dining experiences using seasonal fresh ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, fishers, orchardists, artisans, foragers, my neighbors, and my garden.
I look forward to seeing you at the table.
Leslie Williams, chef and proprietor
Good Earth Kitchen
Some of the Farms, Ranches, and Artisans We Love to Support
Green Uprising Farm
John Ford Ranch
Shamrock Artisan Goat Cheese
Craft House Baking
Mendocino Grain Project
Fort Bragg, CA
The Fish Peddler
Lundberg Family Farms
What's on my playlist this week: Us3's Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)