The Big Apple will soon get a taste of Sacramento. Mulvaneys B&L, the midtown restaurant and figurehead of the local farm-to-fork movement, has been invited to cook a Sacramento-centric menu at New York Citys James Beard House on March 14. The opportunity will shine the spotlight on Sacramento for some of the countrys culinary movers and shakers, and further promote Sacramentos aspirations to be known as Americas Farm-to-Fork Capital.
An invite to cook at the Greenwich Village townhouse is considered one of the food worlds great honors. Its associated James Beard Foundation oversees the annual James Beard Awards, which are considered the restaurant industrys Academy Awards.
Were pretty excited, said Patrick Mulvaney, chef and proprietor of Mulvaneys B&L. We live in the the richest agricultural region in the world, and were inviting people in New York to come and enjoy some Sacramento hospitality.
The late James Beard remains a key figure in culinary arts through his widely read cookbooks and James Beard Foundation, which offers scholarships to the countrys rising talent in the restaurant industry. A restaurant must be invited to take over the James Beard Houses kitchen and cook for 80 guests, which include members of the James Beard Foundation, food journalists, fellow chefs and others.
Sacramento area chefs have been represented only twice before at James Beard House. Taste Restaurant of Plymouth was invited to cook at James Beard House in 2012. The previous example came two decades before that. Sacramento chefs David Soo Hoo and Elaine Corn with pastry chef Patricia Murakami, now of Ambrosia cooked at James Beard House in 1993.
Mulvaneys B&L landed on the organizations radar after chef/proprietor Patrick Mulvaney expressed interest in attending James Beards Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, a think tank for advocacy-minded chefs with discussion on hot topics related to food policy. Mulvaney, however, was not able to attend due to his participation in Sacramentos inaugural Farm-to-Fork Week
The September celebration of Farm-to-Fork Week, which was organized by civic officials plus area chefs and restaurateurs, included a free festival attended by more than 25,000 and showcased the use of local ingredients at restaurants.
Mulvaney will fly to New York City with 10 members of his staff, where they will prepare a one-night-only menu titled A Promise of Spring: Savoring Sacramento. An early draft of the menu includes Sacramento area sturgeon from Passmore Ranch, lamb from Dixon, the regions first fava beans, plus local beers offered to diners following the meal.
You can have a beer with us in the kitchen while were cleaning up, said Mulvaney. Well crack open the Track 7s, the Ruhstallers, the Knee Deeps.
Cooking at James Beard House is also a pricey proposition. Participating chefs are required to provide all their own ingredients plus travel expenses and lodging for staff. Mulvaney wouldnt say how much this excursion would cost, but considering a round-trip ticket from Sacramento to New York City can cost at least $500, the total costs could easily top more than $10,000.
Mulvaney is providing a stipend for his employees to make the trip. Hes also getting a break from local farmers who are donating ingredients. Some of the local purveyors expected to be featured on the menu include Watanabe Farms, Full Belly Farm and Del Rio Botanical.
Its not about the money, said Mulvaney. When I told the chefs in the kitchen that James Beard House invited us to come, they said, Yes! Were on. When you see the light in their eyes, and theyre working in a place theyre proud of, all the other stuff falls into place.
Call The Bees Chris Macias, (916) 321-1253. Follow him on Twitter @chris_macias.