Local foodie and chef Leah Di Bernardo is bringing food and community full circle to the table in Temecula with her passion for clean and sustainable fare. Although she opened her doors on Valentine’s Day of this year, her official debut is Saturday, June 23.
E.A.T, or Extraordinary Artisan Table, is gaining steam with unique and seasonal foods made with Di Bernardo’s zest for healthy food.
Located in central Temecula, the industrial space is filled with community-style tables, trays of colorful food and plenty of happy faces.
“For us it’s all about community,” Di Bernardo said. “My goal is to create a place where people can gather and enjoy really wonderful food.”
Di Bernardo has been whipping up meals and catering in Southwest Riverside County for over a decade to rave reviews. She counts musician Jason Mraz and dare-devil Travis Pastrana as clients.
Di Bernardo has a clear passion for clean and sustainable food that she is proud to declare.
“In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people can forget to slow down and eat wonderful locally grown foods,” she said. ”I am really adamant about promoting the food that is available right here in our community.”
True to her words, she serves only local food with a menu that is governed by what is in season.
“We have basic items every day, but, our menu changes weekly based on what is growing during the year, what is fresh and what makes sense.”
Some days there will be a pomegranate spritzer and other days will see a blood orange short-rib flat bread pizza.
Not only does E.A.T. deliver delicious and gourmet foods, Di Bernardo created an outpost for people who want to enter the food-making arena.
“We also have a non-profit part of the business that welcomes people into our space to fine-tune recipes,” she said in between phone calls. ” We have a step-by-step process in place for people to come in and take their product from the kitchen to the marketplace.”
A benefit for adventurous creators is also a benefit for Di Bernardo as she gets first dibs on the goods people are creating in her kitchen.
“We have a gal who makes the most incredible salsa,” she said. “Her business suffered when the economy took a hit and she needed something to do to supplement her income.”
Now her salsa is highly sought after and sold at local farmers’ markets.
Ninety percent of the food prepared and served at E.A.T. comes from local farmers and food artisans.
“I see it as a big circle,” she said. ”That is what community is all about and what we are bringing to the table.”
E.A.T. Marketplace is open 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturday and is located at 27535 Jefferson Ave. in Temecula.
Stephanie D. Schulte is a writer/photographer with SWRNN. She can be reached at email@example.com.