Resident Chef Tim Byres On The Radical Evolution of Green Feast

Chef Tim Byres and Glenn prepping food in kitchen.
There’s a new level of expansion happening here, and we are honored to have Tim Byres help play a part in this story.

We’re almost done with the final preparations for Green Feast. We’re taking a cue from the HEARTH residency dinners, building off the bioregional food voice we’ve been researching all summer. It’s exciting to be able to share the story that’s been unfolding week by week with the Village as a whole.

Some of these elements will be very different from what you’ve seen at Green Feast before. With this being the first Green Feast held in the middle of the farm, we had a lot more room to play. These HEARTH dinners have featured a constantly evolving “kitchen” cobbled together from all kinds of unexpected parts—some traditional, some primitive, some improvised. It’s created a cool experiential element to the dinners that we wanted to share at Green Feast. Without giving too much away, expect to see some trippy fire displays, creative use of farm tools, dishes improvised from cactus leaves and hollowed out stone. With so many things to look at and interact with, I’m hoping people feel free to not take it so seriously and have more fun.

Top down photo of a variety of heirloom tomatoes and pickled radish on butcher block.

The menu will also look different from past Green Feasts. We’ve brought in more food producer partners to ensure our dinner is authentic to the culture of this bioregion. We’re featuring some beautiful Baja grouper, and doing a whole side of beef cooked vaquero-style. Don’t worry—the vegetables are still front and center. As you’ll see during the opening tour, we’ve planted the market garden with lots of curious ultra-local varieties, from herbs and chiles to corn and okra, and you’ll get to sample it all over ten courses.

Finally, the vibe will be different too. We broke up the usual long table into little tables of eight, so people have the ability to move around and connect more intimately. It’s less formal, more emotional—the way it should be when you’re spending time with good friends over great food. After the past year’s challenges, I think we’re all ready to lose the fuss and loosen up, and be here now.

Chef Tim Byres speaking in front of dinner guests.

We’re trying new things, taking some risks. That’s what has made this residency so much fun. This isn’t a culture of taking the easy way—The Ecology Center likes taking risks, especially risks that help us reach more people and replicate the “give more than you take” model. What’s more, I think this evolution of Green Feast speaks to the evolution of The Ecology Center over the past 18 months. Even as a newcomer, I can sense there’s a new level of expansion happening here. It’s been an honor to play a part in this story.