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  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “Delta asparagus, the bright pride of the Delta. There’ve been times when we said, ‘This is California asparagus,’ when we’d have to mumble under our breath ‘Baja,’ because that’s part of California. Truth is, because of the weather and the rain holding out for us, this actually comes from the Delta. By this point, the asparagus had probably been going for about a week.”

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “(Line cook) Casey Shideler is probably still having nightmares about having to peel quail eggs. It took a long time. They were fresh, and if you ever had to peel eggs when they’re a little older they’re easier to peel. These were not easy to peel. We brought about 170, and she did pretty good. We pickled them in soy sauce which gives them a cool salty flavor, but the umami is fabulous with the boiled quail egg.”

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “Andrew Kingsbury (Mulvaney’s B&L manager) is coming through with the quail eggs. They went in the refrigerator for about an hour as they marinated and got the beautiful mahogany color on the outside. That’s what we call ‘Andrew face.’ He’s trying very hard not to spill anything.”

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “This is Devin Goodearle. He’s our chef de cuisine/executive chef. We brought pasta sheets already made with us, and here you see him rolling out the sheets to make them thinner for the tortellini that had the pea filling. We made the mix by blanching peas a little bit, sweating down some green garlic and then mixing that together with ricotta and Fiscalini cheddar. The mix we actually made here (in Sacramento) and brought with us.”

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “Here’s the tortellini with the peas inside. The first peas of the season had finally come in, and there’s just a few pea shoots tossed in that Yocha Dehe olive oil. The plate epitomizes what we were looking for in the menu, to say, ‘Savoring Sacramento, a promise of spring.’ For us to bring this plate, which is in essence spring in Sacramento, and serve it in New York on a night which was miserable and rainy and 30 degrees, that was pretty cool.”

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “Traditionally, these are wine pairing dinners. Certainly we had plenty of great wine, but we wanted to honor the craft beer going on in Sacramento. We made the beer part of our appetizer course. So, we reached out to our friends at Ruhstaller, New Helvetia, Rubicon, Track 7 – and Sierra Nevada is here.” Far right, the stairway to the fourth floor private library where Beard’s friends dine.

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “Here’s one of the servers (from the James Beard House). They do have a full-time staff that works these dinners. Most people when they go don’t bring front-of-house people. As much as I’m a kitchen guy, the B&L is one family and the meld is very important.” Far right, pastry chef Nena Rasul and executive chef Devin Goodearle with Mulvaney at the end of the meal.

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “(Lead prep/pantry chef Valerie Beard) is standing in front of the line. She’s in front of the pork belly course, with Bledsoe’s pork belly, rice from Montna Farms, and the hatch chilies that Suzanne (Ashworth) grows for us at Del Rio. We made skhug, which is a traditionally Israeli accompaniment with garlic and coriander and a bit of the Meyer lemon. Continued on Page 10.

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “This is the beginning of the plating of the lamb. The fun part is getting to say: Get me a glass of the wine, try the lamb, try the lamb and the sauce. To see the look in (people’s) eyes when they really see where the marriage of flavor comes from, it’s a really good teaching moment.” Far right is the tortellini with spring peas.

  • John Trotter / Special to The Bee

    “This is the end of the meal, standing next to Devin, our executive chef, and Nena (Rasul), our pastry chef. To go and show people in New York how proud I am of my team – and how proud we are to be in Sacramento, and how proud of the farmers and the whole community here, and what we do with food – it was just a great night. A lot of people came up to me and said, ‘Thank you. This makes me proud to be from Sacramento.’ 

More Information

  • More information

    Who was James Beard, and why is cooking at his house such a big deal? Here’s a quick primer on the importance of Beard:

    → →  James Beard, who died in 1985 at age 81, is known as “the dean of American cookery” through his numerous cookbooks, consulting stints, lectures and TV appearances. Born and raised in Portland, Ore., he had originally set his career sights on becoming an actor.

    → →  Beard converted part of his Greenwich Village town home into his James Beard Cooking School. Following Beard’s death, and through the championing of Julia Child and others, the home was established as a culinary center. About 250 events are held yearly at the James Beard House.

    → →  Chefs have to be invited to cook at James Beard House and must meet a number of qualifications. The selection process includes sending a résumé and biography, writing a proposed menu of food and wine, among other criteria.

    → →  Beard wrote more than 20 cookbooks in his career. Some are considered classics and must-haves for pro and home chefs, including “Beard on Bread” and “James Beard’s American Cookery.”

    → →  Chefs who’ve cooked previously at James Beard House include Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter and David Chang.

Patrick Mulvaney cooks at New York’s prestigious James Beard House

Published: Sunday, Apr. 13, 2014 - 12:00 am

For a single night, Sacramento took center stage at one of the world’s most heralded culinary centers.

Mulvaney’s B&L, a figurehead eatery of Sacramento’s “farm-to-fork” movement, was invited to prepare dinner on March 14 at the James Beard House in New York City. The James Beard Foundation, named after the trailblazing American chef and author, hosts a series of dinners at its Greenwich Village brownstone to showcase the country’s finest cooking.

“James Beard was really the first person to talk about American food,” said Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L. “When I started cooking, the food world was Franco-centric. It was all France and there was nothing else out there. He had really broken many of those barriers and planted so many seeds.”

Mulvaney and a 12-person crew made the 2,800-mile trek to New York, shipping boxes of the region’s key ingredients for a meal titled “A Promise of Spring: Savoring Sacramento.” Highlights included:

• Quail eggs benedict

• Monterey abalone with “first favas” and brown butter

• Spring pea tortellini with green garlic and aged cheddar

• Dixon rack of lamb with new potatoes and Delta asparagus

• Strawberries jubilee for dessert

“When I was writing the menu and I started with the framework, it was (about) having grown up in New York and knowing what it’s like in March when you’ve been through three hard months of winter, just hoping for that first bit of spring to come out,” Mulvaney said.

Only two other Sacramentans have received invitations to cook at James Beard House: David Soohoo of Chinois East West and Maurizio Contartese of Bravo Ristorante. With Sacramento’s farm-to-fork scene enjoying support from food enthusiasts and civic officials alike, the dinner was seen as a timely step for Sacramento to increase its presence on the country’s culinary map.

Read more articles by Chris Macias

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