5@5 - Chef Aaron London
March 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Aaron London wants you to get your hands dirty - not only because it'll deepen your appreciation of the earth's bounty, but because he believes it'll make the food downright taste better.

London is the executive chef of Ubuntu, the Michelin-starred "vegetable" restaurant (they prefer this term rather than vegetarian) in Napa, California.

Here, London and his team source many of their ingredients, from rainbow chard to kaffir limes, from the restaurant's own biodymanic garden - and what they can't produce themselves, they source locally.

Five reasons why it’s awesome to have a garden, whether you’re a chef or not: Aaron London

1. "You get to be a part of something from start to finish, learning patience as you dotingly watch something grow."

2. "You are in control of the when, how, where and what size of what you’re picking."

3. "You get the chance to smell, touch and eat something within minutes of it coming out of the ground, which is incredibly special and quite hard to do any other way."

4. "You have a chance to allow nature and live, growing things dictate your menu, rather than the other way around - and this keeps the entire chef/guest/vegetable relationship more vibrant and romantic."

5. "You get to stick your hands in the dirt in your garden! This shouldn’t be overlooked in levels of awesomeness!

Not only is it something that’s yours and that you’re a part of, but I feel safe to say that any gardener out there would agree with me that kneeling over and reaching your hands into the earth and lifting out a warm mound full of life - to place them around the roots of one of your plants that has been knocked over and then tearing off a leaf, chewing and smiling - that’s awesome. Getting to do this every day and working as a storyteller of exactly that experience is awesome."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Gardening • Make • Think

soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Sari in Vegas

    I like gardening, even if I'm total rubbish at it. The almost ritualistic aspects of it like tilling and weeding are really relaxing...

    March 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  2. Steve

    Home-grown, garden – fresh tomatoes taste the best! I'm experimenting with gardening in the sandy soil around my home. I've layered newspaper (10 sheets thick) under my garden, in the hope it will help retain moisture and nutrients.
    Is cow manure or horse manure better for compost? I can also get worm casings for compost. Right now, all I use is composted leaves. I'd like to build a green house to extend the growing season for lettuce and tomatoes.

    March 4, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  3. Holly

    What a beautiful article. I appreciate his wonderful attitude and the reminder of so many good things that come from nature.

    March 4, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  4. Mark

    I'd just rather go to the grocery store and buy my vegetables. Don't have to wait for it to grow, don't have to stick your hands in the dirt, don't have to water or fertilize it.

    March 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Arick

      It tastes so much better though. Have you ever had a tomato straight from the garden? It makes grocery store tomatoes seem disgusting in comparison. Of course, I get the best of both worlds. I don't garden myself, but my father does and he grows enough for the whole immediate family to have fresh veggies. Corn, green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, green onions, and cabbage straight from the source, you can't beat it.

      March 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  5. servant of G*d

    Woe satan dark prince Ive come for your hyde, I challenge any draco to a dull in the courts of the Most High, in his yard..behold i bring lighting against thy enemy. Fear me satan Roar!!!! the power of thy cosmos is here the gift of the Almighty...Oh my Lord let thy evil stumble let them know that it is Amen who dwells within man and with Heaven. Waters of the unseen are in my right Hand.

    March 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      Your god is an avatar of something far greater and ineffable. You are a child seated in front of a false idol you have made into your new parent. Your spiritual growth is stunted and fetid. "God" and "Satan" are within you, they are you and you are them. They are always with you and must always be in balance. To turn your back on one is to turn your back on the other and your self. Evolve and seek the divinity that dwells in you as well as in every particle of the universe. Grow up!

      March 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • Mark

      And this has to do with what??? I think you're looking for the Charlie Sheen story.

      March 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  6. bill

    Cannabis and food in harmony. Now if we could just get mankind to follow suit. Pipe dream? I'm living it!!

    March 4, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      I'd really like to see that day.

      March 4, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
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