The Flavors of Spring with Ritz-Carlton San Francisco Chef Ron Siegel

To say that Chef Ron Siegel knows a thing or two about seasonal cooking is an understatement. As Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco’s latest eatery Parallel 37, Chef Siegel carefully crafts the menu based on the locally-grown seasonal vegetables. For the quickly approaching spring season, he is especially enthusiastic about preparing dishes with two specific greens: artichoke and asparagus.

“What makes me excited about artichokes and asparagus for this spring season is the green vegetables,” said Chef Siegel. “All winter it’s about root vegetables and such. [The green color] makes me feel like spring is coming.”

It’s true that the most accurate indication of the arrival of spring is the season’s first asparagus bloom. With tender edible stalks and green tips, the crisp vegetable is only available during this short growing season. Chef Siegel advises that when creating dishes with asparagus, earthy flavors and lemon work best. “I also enjoy [using] salty, briny flavors as well, like with oysters,” he said.

“When selecting the perfect asparagus, make sure that the tips are pristine and the stalks crisp and strong,” Chef Siegel continued. His favorite dishes to prepare with the vegetable are salads, soups and grilled asparagus alongside a lovely grilled meal.

“When selecting the perfect asparagus, make sure that the tips are pristine and the stalks crisp and strong.”

Artichokes are mainly a California phenomenon. The fleshy, flavorful heart is the reason Chef Siegel advises to also pair artichokes with earthy flavors, and strongly recommends using lemon. His expert tip for a beautiful and flavorful dish is simple: “I love cooking artichokes in white wine—it keeps the color very pure and clean.”

“As far as picking the perfect artichoke, choose the size that best fits the recipe,” he said. For example, his favorite dish to prepare with artichokes is ravioli. “If making ravioli, choose a big [artichoke] so you have plenty of the heart,” he explained.

This spring, channel Chef Siegel and explore the unique flavors of asparagus and artichoke. Don’t be afraid to combine the two vegetables in one dish; Chef Siegel tells us “they are great together in salads and in garnishes for beef, lamb and fish.”