Living and working in California’s Santa Ynez Valley imbued Michael Cherney with a deep connection to the land and its farms. After working at esteemed restaurants like Ortolan and L’Atelier at the MGM Grand, he joined a program called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, enabling him to live and work on an organic farm. The next step was working as the chef at Sides Hardware and Shoes in the farm-to-table wonderland of Los Olivos. There, he met his wife, Sarah, and fostered a cooking style rooted in seasonal and local ingredients. They decided to open a seasonally driven restaurant of their own, but just as they were preparing to open their doors, COVID-19 struck. On April 1, they chose to open peasants FEAST in Solvang, Calif., anyway. Cherney talked with Plate about what that was like.

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