Califonia Bountiful

Beyond the kitchen

May/June 2018 California Bountiful magazine

Chef gets a kick out of fighting food waste, rocking out

Kevin Templeton's myriad roles include chef, environmental steward, musician and teacher. Photo: © 2018 Walter Wilson

For Kevin Templeton, fun comes in many—and varied—forms.

The San Diego native is executive chef of Barleymash and two other restaurants in the city's historic Gaslamp District. It's a career choice he made as a teen, in no small part for the role food plays in bringing people together.

"Making people happy and making good food, and constantly progressing and trying new things: For me, that's what being a chef is about," he said. "It's fun."

Another satisfying form of fun is time spent at Olivewood Gardens, a nonprofit garden and nutrition education center in nearby National City. He's there every Thursday, delivering some 700 pounds of food scraps he's saved and frozen for use as compost. The effort underscores a commitment he shares with other chefs nationwide to reduce food waste in the restaurant business.

Several times a year, Templeton returns to the garden to teach third-, fourth- and fifth-graders the joys and benefits of cooking farm-fresh food.

"They chop and prep everything," he said. "At the beginning, most of them are saying, 'There's no way I'm going to eat that.' But we ask them to kindly just try it. By the time they're done, they're loving it and saying they want to take it home or they want to cook it with their family.

"I definitely love teaching, and it's fun to see the kids smile," he added. "Plus, it's good to get out of the kitchen."

Speaking of which: Templeton also plays guitar in a heavy metal band.

"I don't think I could do either food or music without each other. They keep me balanced," he said with a laugh. "Getting up and screaming and playing heavier music is definitely a stress reliever."

And fun? You bet.

Barbara Arciero


Albacore poke

Lentil pilaf

Grilled baby romaine

Brown sugar ribs

Agave cornbread

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