Many restaurants in Los Angeles County offer an organic menu; however, few restaurants seek to provide options that nourish the surrounding community with a selection of dishes sourced from local farmers markets — guaranteed to be pesticide-free and non-GMO.
But then again, not many restaurants can compare to Native Fields: A locally owned, cafe-style restaurant that combines culinary expertise with community.
Located in the West Covina neighborhood of LA County, Native Fields is the true embodiment of a neighborhood spot. When you first walk through the doors, you can expect a friendly staff, a menu featuring only local-sourced ingredients, and a laid back atmosphere that is welcoming and genuinely happy to see you — a truly comforting experience that can ultimately be attributed to owners, and sisters, Chef Cat Castaneda and Christine Cornwell.
If you haven’t already, be sure to add Native Fields to your list of must-try LA restaurants, and keep reading to learn everything you need to know before paying your first visit.
A Little Background
Chef Cat Castaneda first began her culinary career as a young mom at 20. Determined to provide a good life for herself and her family, she enrolled in culinary school. As her education progressed into a career, Chef Cat was presented with opportunities such as mentoring under James Beard Award winning chef, Suzanna Goin, and working for Octavio Becerra as a sous chef at Palate Food & Wine before accepting a chef position at Silver Lake’s Forage restaurant.
As her family grew, her career transitioned and she began working as a private chef for 2 years, feeding the rich and famous in Los Angeles; however, it was during this time that Chef Cat’s father, Marcel Castaneda, was diagnosed with cancer. Chef Cat knew what she needed to do.
After moving back to the West Covina area to take care of her father, she noticed the total lack of farm-to-table restaurants in the area. Given her local upbringing and passion for her community, Chef Cat wanted to bring quality cuisine to such a deserving community.
Unfortunately, Marcel passed away in 2016. As an ode to his legacy, Chef Cat and her sister, Christine, opened Native Fields in 2018 — just a few blocks from where they grew up.
Go-To Menu Items
Their approach is simple: 100% locally-sourced ingredients with produce sourced from the South Pasadena and Claremont Farmers Markets. As a farm-to-table restaurant, Native Fields supports local farmers such as Underwood Family Farms, Valdivia Farm, Justin of Seeds of Xanxadu, and Cal Poly Pomona by sourcing all grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and pasture-raised eggs in addition to offering plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
While their entire menu features mouthwatering items and any pick is definitely a good one, their top sellers include the Chicken Tocino Bowl and the Ricotta Cheese Pancakes.
Native Fields Gives Back
Native Fields directly gives back to their community by offering access to prepared whole foods; however, they also participate in community outreach programs, local initiatives, and advocacy efforts.
Chef Cat is a benefactor of an organic farm at Cal Poly Pomona where she teaches students how to harvest produce for her restaurant. She and her team also feed seniors and families through organizations such as the YWCA, proudly feeding 50,000 seniors and low income families during the pandemic. Additionally, Native Fields sponsors local schools, especially the Walnut High School Football program, and they advocate for the LGBTQ community while working with local politicians to make a change in their community.
Overall, they are using their position and platform to truly make a difference — with their father’s legacy at the center of it all.
What To Do West Covina, CA.
Given that Chef Cat and Christine are locals themselves, it’s no surprise that they know all the good spots around West Covina.
If you’re visiting the area, Chef Cat and Christine encourage you to stop by Native Fields first, but then pay a visit to Common Corners Brewery, Little Elephants Kids Space, Aroma Craft Coffee, KIN Healing Space, and Kailukuaan Filipino Martial Arts.
Aligned with their mission, Native Fields is dedicated to connecting people with the planet by creating valuable experiences for their employees through leadership programs, tailored educational experiences, and positive encouragement. Additionally, they always honor their values of implementing sustainable practices while encouraging others to do the same.