Meet Jacob & Fiona, The Dynamic Duo Behind Our Restaurant And Garden

Exec­u­tive Chef Jacob Bur­rell and Estate Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist Fiona Bond have been togeth­er for almost 15 years, work­ing side by side in acclaimed restau­rants around the world. They’ve man­aged kitchens and gar­den pro­grams from the Miche­lin starred Man­re­sa in San Jose, to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and across the world to Bali.

Now, we’re lucky that they call the Cen­tral Coast home. Get to know them a lit­tle bit more below!

Jacob and Fiona relaxing in the garden.


What Spring fla­vors are inspir­ing you this year?

2022…..year of the Turnip! Besides the usu­al spring flare of peas, fava beans, let­tuces and such I’m back into turnips and sneak­ing them in things. I’ve revis­it­ed a few old favorite French cook­books and I’ve real­ized the turnip and rutaba­ga usage – espe­cial­ly in purées – pre­dat­ed the arrival of the new world pota­to. His­to­ry inspo!

Name three kitchen tools that you can’t live without.

Sharp knife, clean hands, intu­ition.

When/​how did you decide to become a Chef?

I was work­ing my way through uni­ver­si­ty tak­ing class­es in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines – every­thing from chem­istry, music the­o­ry (despite not being able to play or read music) and Bud­dhism to coach­ing bas­ket­ball. I just came to enjoy every­thing in bits at a time. The more I cooked, the more I found that a Chef’s pro­fes­sion wrapped all those inter­ests into one – his­to­ry, cul­ture, math and sci­ence, lan­guage and com­mu­ni­ca­tion, team­work and psy­chol­o­gy. The work is as phys­i­cal as it is men­tal. It took me a cou­ple more years to work up the courage to get seri­ous and make cook­ing my life’s work. I left for culi­nary school in Ver­mont a cou­ple of years after, already hav­ing 10+ years of kitchen experience.


What are your favorite things to grow in the Spring?

Spring is game time – trays on trays on trays of seedlings! It’s def­i­nite­ly one of my favorite times in the gar­den; full of plans and pos­si­bil­i­ties and poten­tial. I do all of my prop­a­ga­tion based on the bio­dy­nam­ic plant­i­ng cal­en­dar, so each day has a focus. Leaf crops, flower crops, fruit and seed crops and final­ly root crops so I try to stick to work­ing with those spe­cif­ic plants on any giv­en day. Out­side of the cos­mic influ­ences to the plants, it helps me to focus my to-do list so things don’t feel over­whelm­ing — there’s so much to do this time of year!

What should some­one look for in the gar­den on their next visit?

I’ve been work­ing on infra­struc­ture projects this win­ter – get­ting our new chick­en coop set up, adding trel­lis­es and arch­ways for vin­ing plants, build­ing new gar­den beds, strate­gi­cal­ly plac­ing the wine bar­rel planters and more. There are lots of new addi­tions! I’m also adding some light­ing so that dur­ing the evening events folks feel invit­ed to come see what’s grow­ing. I also def­i­nite­ly encour­age guests to poke around in the green­house to see what I’m start­ing for Sum­mer — heir­loom toma­to seedlings, a vari­ety of ten­der herbs and med­i­c­i­nal plants and tons of flow­er­ing annu­als. I love a full green­house of lit­tle baby plants!!

What kind of estate prod­ucts are you mak­ing dur­ing this season?

I’m cur­rent­ly infus­ing Nin­er Estate Olive Oil with cal­en­du­la blos­soms to make the next batch of heal­ing salve. There is also a love­ly Laven­der & Rose­mary sug­ar scrub avail­able — made with whole ground laven­der flow­ers, fresh rose­mary and Nin­er Estate Olive Oil. It’s per­fect for exfo­li­at­ing and nour­ish­ing dry Win­ter hands and feet. The cur­rent blend of the Chef’s Gar­den Salt fea­tures ground grape­fruit peel from our trees as well as gar­den thyme — it makes a love­ly mar­gari­ta rim or BBQ rub!

Jacob with a tray of radishes, Fiona holding flowers


It’s a beau­ti­ful Spring Day and you both (mirac­u­lous­ly) have the day off. How do you spend your day?

J: 1 part sun­shine and exer­cise; 1 part rest; 1 part fam­i­ly time; 1 part date with Fiona.

F: slow lazy morn­ing, beach with the kid­dos and din­ner some­where yummy.

What is your favorite dish that the oth­er per­son cooks at home?

J: Her York­shire pud­dings! And scal­lion butter!

F: Jacob makes a killer bacon/​mushroom pas­ta sit­u­a­tion that I always eat too much of.

What has been in your wine glass lately?

J: Birichi­no Pet Nats (their Mal­va­sia Bian­ca is our favorite), Grenache and Pinot Noirs. We’ve also been mak­ing a casu­al cock­tail using Trad­er Joe’s Sim­ple Times bub­bles with a floater of their pre­mixed Negroni (do not sleep on this combination!)

F: We are also fans of Field Record­ings Pet Nats, the Blanc de Noirs from Dilec­ta and Union Sacre Reis­ling. Since we moved to Paso Rob­les we’ve been try­ing to make a point to do more wine tast­ings around town, so we’re drink­ing more local wines than inter­na­tion­al these days. Niner’s Grenache is always in rota­tion as well!

What music is on your Spring playlist?

J: Sturgill Simp­son, Cut­tin’ Grass Vol 1; Just dis­cov­ered Charley Crock­ett, so cur­rent­ly brows­ing through his cat­a­log; Tro­jan reg­gae compilations.

F: Erykah Badu, Kacey Mus­graves, King Tub­by, always Zep­pelin, Bill Mon­roe and Doc Wat­son, Burn­ing Spear, Mac Miller, The Band.

How do you two work togeth­er to plan what is grown in the garden?

J: *doesn’t answer*

F: Hah! I’ve been ask­ing Jacob to do our first walk­through of the gar­den for months! It’s almost unspo­ken now – we’ve been doing this in some form or fash­ion for almost 15 years so the foun­da­tion is well estab­lished. I know the sta­ples of what he likes, so I always grow Hakurei turnips, baby let­tuces, spring onions & French break­fast radish­es. We always have at least three seed cat­a­logs and cook­books lay­ing around the house, so we also find new ideas that way. We’ll also send inspi­ra­tional posts back and forth on Insta­gram, or take note of a new ingre­di­ent while we’re eat­ing out at dinner.

As a grow­er, it’s a real dream to work with a Chef who’s aware of the sea­sons and what’s pos­si­ble at any giv­en time; nature’s the real boss when it comes to planning!


See how Jacob &ampFion­a’s work­ing rela­tion­ship comes to life in our restau­rant! Our lunch menu changes with the sea­sons, reflect­ing what is fresh and vibrant in the gar­den. Click here to see our cur­rent menu »