People 2012

Gill Boyd: Farmers Markets Made Easy

Comments (0)


Tue, May 22, 2012 at 7:09 AM
click to enlarge KEVIN SCANLON
  • Kevin Scanlon

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2012 issue. Check out our entire People 2012 issue here.

It's a drizzly day at the Crenshaw Farmers Market in South L.A., and the small cluster of shoppers around chef Gill Boyd's booth gathers closer -- getting their heads out of the rain, yes, but also getting a better view. Boyd is warming avocado oil in a wok while behind him two students from Le Cordon Bleu chop carrots. He's demonstrating how to cook cabbage with feta cheese and almonds, one of five dishes he'll make today with cabbage as the main ingredient. His observers clutch yellow pieces of paper with Boyd's recipes printed on them, following along.

"I've never seen greens that young," one woman says. "They look great."

"You get them right over there from South Central Farmers," Boyd tells her, pointing to a nearby produce stand.

Just about every ingredient he is using can be purchased within a few feet of his booth. That's his thing: He sets up shop at various farmers markets around town -- having graced Crenshaw, Hollywood, Atwater Village and Watts -- and sources ingredients from the purveyors, creating health-conscious recipes based on what's in season. Then Boyd teaches people how to make them.

"I'm always thinking about a short number of ingredients and short preparation," he says. "I'm not a guru -- I'm not a nutritionist, either. I'm just a chef. My job is to show you how to use produce in a way that's easy for you, so you'll eat it."

But why has he made this his job at all? A certified executive chef who once worked under famed California cuisine trailblazer Jonathan Waxman, the 49-year-old Boyd could be running a kitchen somewhere, charging high prices for high-end food.

"You can go the route of feeding the rich," he acknowledges. "I could've gone that route years ago, but I said, 'You know what, that's not really for me.' My wife and I have eaten at three-star Michelin restaurants, and I enjoy it, but that's not my mission."

Instead, he loves teaching. By day an instructor at Le Cordon Bleu, he calls himself a "back-to-basics guy."

"If I can get people to cook for themselves," he says, "they're going to eat better, and they're going to use the great produce of the Earth, which I believe in. That's the thrill for me."

At the market, Boyd doles out samples of various slaws, and asks a student to get another head from his aunt. His aunt and uncle are watching his other booth, at which he sells pre-made, healthy meals. He's trying to grow that business, as well as his website, on which he posts recipes and sells meal-plan packages.

As the proverb goes, Boyd is all about teaching the world to fish. "My mission is to get people to enjoy food by inspiring them to prepare it in a better way," he says.

If you'd rather buy the fish, however, Boyd still has you covered: "And if you can't cook, I'll make it for you."

One of the fascinating Angelenos featured in L.A. Weekly's People 2012 issue. Check out our entire People 2012 issue here.

Related Location

Related Content

Now Trending

  • Where to Eat Indonesian Food Like a Dutch Colonist in L.A.

    If you want it, there are plenty of options to get Indonesian or Malaysian food in L.A. these days. Indo Café, which was widely regarded as the best place to get Indonesian on the Westside, closed a couple of years ago, but there’s still Simpang Asia across the street, which...
  • 10 Best Gluten-Free Pizzas in L.A.

    Pizza is something that invariably inspires heated debate.  Lately, it seems only one other thing invites such passionate argument: gluten. The gluten protein is what gives wheat dough its structure, loft and elasticity.  Which is why trying to find a really good gluten-free pizza has always been like looking for unicorns...
  • Giving Away Brownies For No Good Reason

    A random act of kindness starts like this: a rain of cocoa powder, dark and rich and intensely chocolatey, poured into a big ceramic bowl with sugar and butter, then creamed with vanilla and eggs, then flour and salt (a very simple recipe; use excellent chocolate; don't forget the salt)...


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.