There’s a new chef in town!
Chef Jeff Campagna joins the team at Bistro West as the new Executive Chef of the popular restaurant located adjacent to West Inn & Suites and West Steak and Seafood in Carlsbad. Chef Campagna will oversee the 7,700 square foot restaurant, which has gained recognition for its farm to table menu with ingredients harvested from West’s own local farm.
“Having your own farm is a dream come true for a chef.” says Campagna. “To be able to work directly with the farmer and influence the harvest to create dishes built around the freshest produce possible is a rare opportunity.”
Campagna’s cooking style emphasizes fresh and artistic plates with French, Asian, Latin, Italian, and California influences with everything on the menu being made from scratch and with seasonal ingredients. Because of Chef Campagna’s commitment to the farm-to-table approach to casual dining, he works very closely with the farm manager, Luke Girling to make sure the kitchen has what it needs.
Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a tour of the 3-acre farm with Chef and Luke as my guides.
Traipsing through the rows of vegetables, Chef Jeff pointed out some of the crops planted specifically for the fall menu, among them, turnips, parsnips, and celery root, all new to the farm. Chef Campagna also requested that the farm begin producing microgreens for garnishes, which are now blooming. Luke walked us through the green house filled with stacks of the delicate little sprouts ready to be taken back to the restaurant.
Throughout our tour of the farm, Chef Campagna talked with Luke about the herbs that he needed for dishes currently under development. As we walked the rows, he would pick the necessary herbs for his recipes and talked about some of the plates he has planned for the near future of Bistro West’s menu. Without giving too much away, I will say… you’ll be putting this place on your list of restaurants to frequent.
Not only can Chef Campagna be found at the farm on a regular basis collecting items for the kitchen, some days, you just might catch him riding his mountain bike on the local trails adjacent to the farm. “Sometimes, in the mornings, I ride up through the fields and talk to Alfonso.” Alfonso is the farm hand that has been working closely with Chef and Luke. As Luke explained, “We don’t use pesticides. Alfonso hand weeds the entire farm.” Alfonso has been instrumental in the team’s farm-by-site approach. “If we see something is failing or being eaten, we act on it right away.”
Before leaving the farm, we took a look at the vegetables that were just germinating. These tiny sprouts will eventually be broccoli and cauliflower.
What other new plantings will be coming to the farm? “We’re going to plant some Bok Choy and try to grow ginger.” Both Chef and Luke were optimistic and excited about the future crops and of the farm. Personally, I’m excited to taste the offerings on Bistro West’s new menu!
Besides his passion for freshness and innovation, Chef Campagna brings over 30 years’ experience in the restaurant business, including a wealth of operational knowledge, creativity, and organizational expertise (acquired while working at several prestigious restaurants in Northern California including “Z” in Los Altos and Southern Exposure Bistro in Aptos) to the Bistro West team.
- Bistro West is located at 4960 Avenida Encinas, Carlsbad.
- For reservations, call: (760) 930-8008.