Garden-to-Table at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel 7

Chefs harvest organic produce from the resort’s organic 
garden to create sumptuous culinary delights

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel takes farm-to-table to a new level with its organic garden. In it, a handful of herbs and produce are grown which ultimately make their way to a dish served in one of the restaurants. Executive Chef, Brian Sundeen and his culinary experts cultivate and maintain the organic garden throughout the year with herbs, seasonal fruits and vegetables. This February, Chef Brian and his team are planting tomatoes and beans including Sugar Magnolia Sweet Peas. Strolling through the bright garden you will find purple cauliflower, thyme, rosemary, Meyer lemons, strawberries, oregano, lavender, kale, and carrots, along with a variety of citrus fruits and vegetables. Freshly picked kale is used in green smoothies in The Market Place, sprigs of lavender flavor ice cream, syrups, and infused water, purple cauliflower highlights crudité platters, and fresh herbs are incorporated into other savory items in the kitchen.

Most of the seeds and plants originate from local farmers including Polito Family Farms, Harry’s Berries, Logan’s Garden, and Chef Brian can be spotted shopping locally at the Santa Monica Farmers Market and Laguna Beach Farmers Market. A highlight of the garden is a collection of five of the world’s spiciest chilies, including the Carolina Reaper Chili, Scorpion Butch T, Ghost Peppers, Peach Ghost Peppers, and Moruga Scorpian.

While these spicy darlings are not regulars on the menu, they are transformed into house-made hot sauce available in RAYA and 180blu for guests who love spice and want to experience a flavor and heat like no other. If you want to try making it at home to share with your dinner parties, Chef Brian Sundeen shares the recipe.

Reaper Hot Sauce:
Yields 1 Pint

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¾ tablespoons salt
  • 5 Reaper Chilies – if not found locally you can purchase online
  • 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup water

Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth and enjoy (at your own risk) with your favorite dish.