Scenes from a Farmer’s Market

By Kyndal Kennedy

Did you know that the chefs in Paso Robles have been supporting local farmers for years? It’s more than a trend here; it’s a way to support the community while ensuring the highest possible quality of food ends up on the plate.

For Chef Santos MacDonal, owner of downtown Paso Robles establishments Il Cortile Ristorante and La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant, it doesn’t get any better than buying local at the various central coast farmer’s markets. Just one of his stops is the Saturday morning farmer’s market in Templeton.

“They know me, and I know them,” he said of the farmers and purveyors of bountiful produce, meats, poultry, grains and spices. “Coming here is the best way to decide what to cook. Everything’s so fresh.”

Chef Santos’ latest of-the-moment inspirations from the farmer’s market are a slow-roasted pork belly complemented with sliced fresh figs and fig honey, and crostini topped with ricotta cheese, fresh peaches and mint. “The figs, peaches and honey – all of it came from local producers,” he said.

 Also on the menu recently was Chef Santos’ Managing Partner and wife, Carole MacDonal’s fresh fig and almond tart, from locally-sourced figs. “A lot of people don’t know what a great baker she is,” he said. Carole often bakes up goodies for the restaurants, something both staff and guests have come to enjoy.

Chef Santos enjoys the Saturday morning Templeton farmer’s market for the variety of ingredients offered, but he also favors the Monday afternoon market in Los Osos/Baywood. “It’s so beautiful there,” he said, “Such a nice place to buy.”


Il Cortile is located in downtown Paso Robles at 608 12th Street, and is downtown Paso Robles’ fine dining Italian restaurant. Chef Santos MacDonal crafts seasonal menus with the freshest ingredients sourced from the surrounding local and regional landscapes and provides a vast array of exceptional homemade pastas, fresh seafood, top quality meats and antipasti. A major destination for exquisite wines, picturesque landscapes and beautiful weather, Paso Robles provides the perfect pairing for Il Cortile’s authentic Italian fine dining. Il Cortile is a recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 2014. For reservations and information, please call 805.226.0300 or visit

Centering on the flavors of Spain and Latin America, La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant in Paso Robles is the bold creation of celebrated chef, Santos MacDonal. After establishing Paso Robles Italian favorite, Il Cortile Ristorante, Chef Santos was inspired by his own Honduran heritage and the abundance of fresh Central Coast ingredients to bring La Cosecha to life. Along with his brother and longtime collaborator, Jorge MacDonal, and wife and Managing Partner, Carole MacDonal, Chef Santos developed La Cosecha’s menu to be fiercely local while also making use of specialty herbs and spices specific to regional Latin cuisine for a taste that’s both completely authentic and totally unique. Open late, La Cosecha also features a craft cocktail menu designed to make use of garden-fresh ingredients and artisanal spirits. La Cosecha Restaurant is located at 835 12th Street, Suite A, on Paso Robles’ famed City Park. Please visit or call 805.237.0019 for more information.