The Spirit of The Herbfarm Restaurant: A Cookbook and Memoir: With More Than 100 Recipes, Tips, and Techniques from America's First Farm-to-Table Restaurant (Hardcover)

The Spirit of The Herbfarm Restaurant: A Cookbook and Memoir: With More Than 100 Recipes, Tips, and Techniques from America's First Farm-to-Table Restaurant By Ron Zimmerman, Dr. Sinclair Philip (Foreword by), Carrie Van Dyck (Contributions by) Cover Image
By Ron Zimmerman, Dr. Sinclair Philip (Foreword by), Carrie Van Dyck (Contributions by)
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This book brings together more than 100 unique recipes from and inspired by America’s first true “farm-to-table” restaurant with the story of its creation.

Working together, founders Ron Zimmerman and Carrie Van Dyck turned a farm garage into a restaurant like no other. In their pre-opening manifesto, they vowed to use only local ingredients to reunite their guests with the increasingly forgotten nature that has sustained us for hundreds of years.

The initial offering was a single noon seating that began with a garden tour led by Carrie. This quickly became a nine-course chef-selected menu with a price that included wine pairings. The meals told a daily story in six or nine sequential dishes of what was in the garden, wilds, farm, and sea.

Unlike restaurants that would later cloak themselves in the verbal mantle of “farm-to-table,” The Herbfarm Restaurant first found the food and only then designed the menu. Everything in each dish was local, not just the protein or main vegetable. Even olive oil and lemons weren’t used in the first years until Oregon olive orchards blossomed. There were no “supplements” or extra charges. Since guests were charged in advance, they knew to the penny what the experience would cost.

Part memoir, part cookbook, The Spirit of the Herbfarm Restaurant is a walk down memory lane, written, photographed, and largely designed by Ron before his death in 2023. Delight in the history of the restaurant as well as the unique seasonal dishes and recipes and beautiful photography that cover all occasions.

About the Author

Ron Zimmerman (1948–2023) and his wife, Carrie Van Dyck, converted a garage on his parents’ farm east of Seattle into a small restaurant in 1986. The initial twenty-four-seat affair served a prix fixe, six-course luncheon or nine-course dinner using only local ingredients. Soon, The Herbfarm received rave local and national press. Multi-page articles listed it as one of the top fifty restaurants in America. In 1997, a fire destroyed the restaurant. Ron and Carrie vowed to make its replacement even better. Through many trials and delays, they rebuilt. In 2001, they became one of forty-nine AAA five-Diamond restaurants in America. This is Ron’s memoir of those days of struggles along with 150 pages of Herbfarm-inspired recipes and culinary ideas. Learn more about the book at

Dr. Sinclair Philip is the former co-owner, operator, and wine director of Sooke Harbour House Hotel and Restaurant, which was named the Best Restaurant in the World for Authentic, Local Cuisine by Gourmet and Best Restaurant in Canada by the Globe and Mail. Philip is the recipient of the Governor General of Canada's Nation's Table Award for Mentoring and Inspiration and he is a member of the British Columbia Restaurant Hall of Fame. He is the cofounder Slow Food Canada and former vice president of the Southern Vancouver Island Mycological Society.

Praise For…

"This is a story about following your dreams and opening a restaurant where every strand of your DNA is woven into the very fabric of the place. It’s a story about disaster and rebirth. About discovering nature, seasonality, and the local bounty of the earth. But more than that, this book offers a glimpse into the genius and forward thinking of Ron Zimmerman. Ron was a man of endless curiosity, was inspired by nature, and one who embodied the warm hug of the service industry. The restaurant that he and Carrie built—The Herbfarm—is nothing short of iconic and legendary. This captivating and informative book is a must own for chefs and cooks across the world as there is no doubt that through it, the influence of Ron will live on forever." —René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of noma
"Ron, Carrie, and I were culinary pioneers together in the Seattle area at a golden moment,  along with a host of talented, quirky, smart, gifted people.  Most of us have stayed the course, devoted to local and seasonal ingredients and more, yet I think that Ron and Carrie have shone most brightly with their dedication to perfection, and their individual generosity to each person who crossed their threshold and sat at their table.  As I read what Ron has written, memories and flavors flood my consciousness.  You must get this book, learn, laugh, and cry with it as I have, then take it to your kitchen.  It is an inestimable gift.  Merci, Ron, whom I cannot consider thinking of without Carrie." —Susan Herrmann Loomis, author and cooking school proprietor, On Rue Tatin (

Praise for The Herbfarm Restaurant

“The Northwest’s most-celebrated restaurant; the ultimate expression of the Northwest’s bounty.” —Frommer’s

“A must experience. The fastest five hours you’ll ever experience.” —Best Places Seattle

“An unparalled dining event.” —Seattle Times

“Best Washington Dining” —Northwest Palate
“Best Overall Restaurant” —Editor’s Choice: Where Seattle
“Top 50 Restaurants in the World” —Travel-Leisure
"America’s Top Restaurants" —Zagat
“Top 50 Restaurants in America” —Gourmet

Fine Dining Hall of Fame —Nation’s Restaurant News
Award of Excellence — Distinguished Restaurants of North America
4 Stars —Mobile Travel Guide 
4 Stars —The Seattle Times
AAA 5-Diamond Award — One of only 49 in 2022

Product Details
ISBN: 9781510780125
ISBN-10: 1510780122
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English