At the rear of the property is a 30'x50' enclosed space which probably served as a kitchen garden for the original residents. In 1989, at the request of the chef and owner, renowned author and garden designer Rosalind Creasy created an edible garden with paths and raised beds. An early photo of the garden can be seen on page 18 of the new edition of Edible Landscaping. Over the next twenty-some years the garden was maintained more or less depending on the enthusiasm and availability of the restaurant staff. By 2008 the garden had been untended for several years.
In 2008 Louise Christy, a friend of the Aviet family, started looking enviously at the bare garden. She saw opportunity for an avid gardener—an enclosed space with beautiful bones, paths and beds, waiting for someone to work it. George gave Louise free rein to take over the garden and she has been deep in the dirt ever since. "Growing things that inspire chefs in their own creative work is incredibly satisfying," she says. "I have learned never to presume how Joey will use a plant. I allow almost everything to grow through it's entire life cycle, so he can try not only the usual root or leaf or fruit, but also the stems, flowers, and seeds. Each plant offers different possibilities." In addition to keeping the Chez TJ garden, Louise is a volunteer Santa Clara County Master Gardener, and in 2011 started a business growing microgreens for fine restaurants, called Garnish Garden.
The Chez TJ garden is a hard-working potager. With few exceptions, all the plants can be used in the kitchen. Executive Chef Jarad Gallagher browses the garden daily and whenever possible use it as the source for garnishes, herbs, flowers, and other greenery in their dishes. In addition to a wide variety of herbs and edible flowers, the garden includes currant tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, leeks, lettuces, arugula, mizuna, and radishes. Permanent plants include raspberries, pomegranate, Meyer lemons, tangerine, and Kumquat. No pesticides are used, and Louise tries to keep flowering plants in the garden at all times to attract beneficial insects. Beds are amended with compost and organic fertilizer, and most irrigation is via in-line drippers.
Please enjoy your visit to Chez TJ's Garnish Garden. Just walk around the back of the restaurant from either side—you can't miss it.
Come join us for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. You may contact us directly at 650-964-7466 to make a reservation.