In a few short years, Steve Sando has taken the
lowly bean from a healthy but neglected, over-bred
member of the vegetable family to a near
superstar-status ingredient. Sando's company
Rancho Gordo, grows heirloom and heritage
varieties and works with influential chefs like
Thomas Keller, Deborah Madison, Paula Wolfert
and Annie Sommerville.
Sando's seed saving efforts and bean production
provide professional and home chefs the
opportunity to literally eat American history.
Sando's heirloom beans, along with corn and chiles,
have become key ingredients in the new American
food revolution centered in the San Francisco Bay
Area. In fact Sando and Rancho Gordo were
named Number Two on Saveur magazine's
prestigious The Saveur 100 list for 2008.
Rancho Gordo production is primarily in
Northern California. In addition to beans, they
are promoting, growing and occasionally
importing indigenous New World foods. Sando
constantly tours The Americas looking for rare,
endangered and delicious samples to save and
grow in his trial gardens in Napa, California.
Steve Sando's book, Heirloom Beans: Recipes
from Rancho Gordo, co-written with Vanessa
Barrington and with an introduction by
Thomas Keller (The French Laundry Cookbook),
was published by Chronicle Books
in Fall 2008.
Sando was named as one of Bon Appetit magazines Hot Ten, along with Daniel Boulud and Ubuntu's Jeremy Fox.
Steve is currently working on his next book for Timber Press.