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MEET THE CHEF: Chandra Gouldrup Really Is A Farmer’s Daughter

August 9, 2017

BY JASON M. BURNS FOR THE SUN CHRONICLE   Mar 9, 2016

EASTON – A trip to The Farmer’s Daughter can often mean a long wait to be seated at one of the 15 tables at the breakfast and lunch hot spot.

But for chef Chandra Gouldrup, seeing the loyal patrons stand outside in anticipation of enjoying her farm-to-table menu is still a humbling sight.

“It’s such a compliment,” said Gouldrup, a New Hampshire transplant who opened The Farmer’s Daughter in June 2013.

“For them to wait patiently outside it’s an honor for me to give them, hopefully, a meal that is worth their time. It surprises me every day and I certainly don’t take it for granted.”

Gouldrup moved to Easton with her husband, a local, and kept her eye on the 122 Main St. location where her restaurant now sits. But it was seven years before the previous tenant, a diner, vacated the property.

Crediting her husband for seeing the potential in the location, Gouldrup stepped in and gutted the building, completely remodeling it into what it is today.

The restaurant’s name is not a clever marketing ploy but truth in advertising. While her mother was full-blooded Sicilian and served a major role in her culinary perspective, particularly from a comfort food standpoint, her father was raised on a potato farm in northern Maine. With a large personal garden to draw from, her immediate family were all vegetarians and she experienced a diet unusual for most kids her age.

Working her way through various kitchens, starting as a dishwasher and advancing up the ladder, Gouldrup’s vegetarian diet became a topic of discussion with the many chefs she was working alongside. How could she taste the non-vegetarian food she was serving her patrons?

“Since then I changed my palette and sort of jumped ship,” she said with a laugh. “My joke is that if I ever do a cookbook, it will be called, ‘The Life of a Rogue Chef: From Plants to Pork.'”

Although The Farmer’s Daughter began exclusively as a breakfast and lunch location, the restaurant has been serving a small plate, tapas-style dinner menu on Fridays and Saturdays for about a year now.

And Gouldrup plans to open a second location a few doors down in an old church that is being renovated. The new restaurant will have a complete dinner menu, but still highlight that fresh farm-to-table mind-set that patrons of the original have grown to love.

“I grew up with a much better sense of quality ingredients,” she said. “… So now, for example, we use 100 percent real maple syrup, which is still kind of rare for a breakfast place.”

With the new restaurant on the horizon, Gouldrup is quick to point out that the familiar quaintness of The Farmer’s Daughter will not be affected.

“It doesn’t take a lot to fill us, but I’m also a huge proponent of bigger is not always better,” she said. “We may expand a few more seats someday, but I’d never want it to be much bigger than this.”

 Favorite dish to prepare?

Classic comfort food. “I go back to my Sicilian roots in terms of some kind of pasta dish.”

Favorite ingredient?

Honey. “I use honey a lot because I like the fact that it has versatility between sweet and savory.”

When not at the restaurant, where do you like to go out to eat?

Although she likes to visit Cambridge for its culinary diversity, as a new mother, home is where she most likes to eat these days. “To me, cooking a meal at home is how I relax.”