To celebrate this day, we sat down with David Rodriguez, Executive Pastry Chef at Watershed at the Owl, a California-based restaurant, to learn more about their brand, vision, and communicating this ethos to their customers.
David, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Can you introduce yourself and your restaurant?
Watershed at the Owl is located in an old mining town–Grass Valley, CA. We focus on using only sustainable and/or local ingredients. For example, all beef for the restaurant comes from within a 20-mile radius. We use a specific breed of steer and our Chefs use the ENTIRE animal. We make soap out of the beef fat, use the bones for stock and gelatin. We use the beef tongue and innards—everything. For produce, we also work with local farms and source as local as possible.
Tell us about your role at the restaurant and how pastry fits into the local focus.
I’m the Executive Pastry Chef at Watershed at the Owl. We do everything for our dessert menu in house. We bake bread from scratch and make ice cream from scratch. We use some local flours.
Do you find Watershed at the Owl restaurant goers are curious about the sustainability and intentionality of your supply chain?
Yes! Initially it was a little tough, as it was a huge change from what the community was used to. But once they learn this supports the community and neighboring towns and jobs, people are very supportive.
What’s next for Watershed at the Owl?
We are going to focus on staying small and fine tuning. For example, we are located between Tahoe and Sacramento, California and there isn’t much demand in our town for sustainable chickens and eggs. We are working on getting a group of people together in our community to pool our demand and source local sustainable eggs and poultry.