Traci Des Jardins from Fivebough, California was raised in San Joaquin Valley, where she developed a liking for the earth and its bounty. Her heritage, which highly influenced the food on their table, was composed of Mexican from her mother's side and Louisiana-French Acadian and Swedish and Norwegian from her father's. Pursuing a career in the culinary arts, Des Jardins became a chef at Rubicon from 1994 up until 1997, when she opened her own restaurant, Jardinière. In 2002, she worked as a managing chef at Acme Chophouse. She also became the chef and owner of Mijita in the San Francisco Ferry Building. Following a string of successes, Des Jardins garnered a number of awards, such as the James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef: Pacific" and "Rising Star Chef of the Year," a Food & Wine Magazine "Best New Chef" and San Francisco Magazine's "Chef of the Year."
Traci Des Jardins became featured as one of eight contenders for the ultimate title of Iron Chef on Food Network's reality series, The Next Iron Chef. She was eliminated on the first episode.
(Photo courtesy of Food Network)