Chef/Co-owner, Jardinière and Mijita Cocina Mexicana; Chef/Partner, Public House and Manzanita
Traci is the quintessential California farm girl, raised in the San Joaquin Valley, influenced by her Mexican and French Acadian grandparents, she cooks from her heart with a deep love for the earth and its bounty.
Before opening Jardinière in San Francisco in 1997, James Beard award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins worked in some of the ﬁnest kitchens in Los Angeles, France, and New York City. Traci’s professional cooking career began when she followed her heart and landed a tryout with Joachim Splichal, then at 7th Street Bistro in Los Angeles. Within two weeks she was running a station in Splichal’s kitchen in an environment with uncompromising standards of excellence and discipline that spurred her to further hone her craft in France where she apprenticed with legendary chefs including Michel and Pierre Troisgros, Alain Senderens, Alain Ducasse, and Alain Passard.
Traci has earned a great number of accolades, including the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year” in 1995 while at Rubicon; Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef”; San Francisco Magazine’s “Chef of the Year”; and the James Beard Foundation Award in 2007 for “Best Chef: Paciﬁc”. In 1999, Jardinière won Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant,” as well as a nomination by the James Beard foundation for “Best New Restaurant”. In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle has listed it as one of the “Top 100 Restaurants” in the Bay Area each year since opening. In 2007 Traci beat Iron Chef Mario Batali on the Food Network show Iron Chef America. Traci just finished competing on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters 3, where she made it to the final three contestants, but in the end lost to Floyd Cardoz of Tabla.
Combining her love of California and skiing, in 2009 Traci opened Manzanita her destination mountain restaurant in the new Ritz-Carlton at Northstar in Lake Tahoe. Taking its name from the ubiquitous California tree, Manzanita offers Traci’s signature French inspired California cuisine, with a regional mountain resort influence, sourcing organic, sustainable and locally grown meat and produce when possible.
Heavily influenced by her years helping her Mexican grandmother in the kitchen, in 2004 Traci opened Mijita Cocina Mexicana in the San Francisco Ferry Building and in 2010 the second location at AT&T Park, combining the best of Bay Area seasonal and local ingredients with the traditional Mexican ﬂavors of her youth. Adjacent to Mijita and located at AT&T Park, home of the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, Traci’s Public House is a modern sports bar serving California influenced pub food.
Beyond the kitchen, Traci sits on the advisory board of Bocuse d’Or USA joining fellow chefs in the quest to elevate culinary excellence in the United States. Traci is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist working with hunger-relief organizations such as Share Our Strength, Citymeals On-Wheels and other non-profits such as La Cocina and amfAR.