SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. - The Santa Ynez Valley Restaurants Week began Monday, Jan. 18, and runs until the end of the month.
The approach to promoting local restaurants has changed significantly this year with COVID restrictions still in place and the pandemic at its worst since it began almost a year ago. Instead of normal operations, restaurants are shifting to takeout friendly options.
"We're offering three courses, the first is a cup of curry carrot soup, second course is carnitas tacos, and the third course is a Mexican chocolate panna cotta," said Michael Cherney, owner and executive chef of peasants FEAST.
This is the first year Cherney and his wife Sarah, who is the co-owner and general manager, are participating in Restaurant Weeks as owners. He is excited about sharing his passion and the bountiful ingredients supplied by local farmers.
"My style of cooking is very simple. Its about whatever is available from the farmers. This is our way of highlighting the farmers and celebrating them and showcasing the work they do," he explained, "So the reputation of the restaurant really depends on what the farmers are doing and all the care and love they're putting into their ingredients."
That same care and passion is what has earned peasants FEAST loyal, repeat customers.
"The customers are coming to you saying how great their experience was because you did it, not someone else...its you," said Cherney, "It's Mike and Sarah and you guys are doing an awesome job and we're part of the community. Its just a really great feeling"
Michael Widling, who lives in Solvang, is one of those repeat customers.
"It just feels like the food is made with a lot of love and care," said Widling, who was at the restaurant to pick up dinner, "They really put a lot of work into what they're making and it's just to die for."
The Santa Ynez Valley Restaurants Weeks ends on Jan. 31.