Ritz-Carlton at Northstar hires well-known chef Traci Des Jardins | SierraSun.com

Ritz-Carlton at Northstar hires well-known chef Traci Des Jardins

Sun Staff Report

NORTHSTAR-AT-TAHOE ” The Ritz-Carlton Highlands at Northstar-At-Tahoe has hired world-renowned chef Traci Des Jardins to create the restaurant at the high-end hotel, which is set to open next fall.

“As a lifelong avid skier, I have always wanted to have a restaurant in a ski town and combine two of my favorite activities ” cooking and skiing,” said Des Jardins. “I love the whole culture of the mountains and mountain activities and am excited to create a great restaurant which caters to the needs of the Alpine adventurer.”

Des Jardins was raised on a farm in California’s San Joaquin Valley and developed a deep love for the earth and its bounty at an early age. She had first dreamed of being a downhill ski racer and then a veterinarian, but always found herself drawn to the heat and creativity of the kitchen.

Prior to opening Jardiniere, she spent time in Los Angeles and New York working with some of the country’s top chefs, further honing her craft in France where she apprenticed with legendary chefs including Michel and Pierre Troisgros, Alain Senderens, Alain Ducasse, and Alain Passard. In 1998, she opened Jardiniere and has made it one of the most sought-after reservations in San Francisco.

Following that success, she opened Mijita Cocina Mexicana in 2004 in the San Francisco Ferry Building, combining the best of Bay Area seasonal and local ingredients with the traditional Mexican flavors of her youth. Des Jardins also serves as managing chef for the popular Acme Chophouse, a modern steakhouse that features naturally-raised grilled and roasted meats and poultry, locally-caught fish, and produce from small, local organic farms. Beyond the kitchen, Traci is a deeply committed activist and philanthropist.

The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, has also commissioned the restaurant design team at The Johnson Studio to create the mountain resort’s signature restaurant. The name of the restaurant has not yet been decided.

“We drew our direction and inspiration for the design from Traci: her fondness of the beauty of nature, her love of contemporary design and her passion for excellence,” said Bill Johnson, principal at The Johnson Studio.

Other recent projects of The Johnson Studio include Fearing’s at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, Texas, Kevin Rathbun’s in Atlanta, Georgia and Restaurant Tru in Chicago, Illinois.