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Tower Bridge dinner and Mulvaney’s pig roast set for 2014 Farm-to-Fork event

Published: Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 - 6:17 pm

The Tower Bridge will once again serve as the setting for a $175 dinner to cap Sacramento’s 2014 farm-to-fork celebration, an event designed to showcase the region’s restaurants and agricultural heritage.

Brian Mizner, executive chef of Hook & Ladder, and Jason Poole of Dawson’s will lead the consortium of some two dozen local chefs who will prepare a multicourse dinner for 600 guests at the Sept. 28 gala dinner.

Not far from the West Sacramento side of the Tower Bridge, a pig roast by Mulvaney’s B&L will be held on Sept. 14 at Raley Field. This $40 event is a new addition to Sacramento’s burgeoning farm-to-fork celebrations, and will include 20 whole pigs being roasted as a benefit for the Sacramento Food Bank.

“Everybody’s invited and everyone’s welcome,” said Patrick Mulvaney, chef and proprietor of Mulvaney’s B&L. “A pig roast and bluegrass is a pretty cool day. And it’s affordable.”

Proceeds from the Tower Bridge gala dinner will fund a free Farm-to-Fork Festival on Sept. 27. Last year, the Tower Bridge dinner sold out and grossed more than $100,000 through a combination of ticket sales and table sponsorships.

The festival’s debut in 2013 drew more than 25,000 to Capitol Mall for a day of food and drink, and education about the local farming industry.

Tickets for this year’s Tower Bridge dinner will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at A maximum of four tickets may be ordered, and sponsorships for a table of eight cost $5,000.

Tickets for the 2013 Tower Bridge dinner sold out in about six hours. The all-star cast of local chefs was led by Mulvaney and Randall Selland of Selland Family Restaurants, which operates The Kitchen, Ella Dining Room & Bar, and Selland’s Market-Cafe.

According to organizers, the idea is to have a different chef duo coordinate the Tower Bridge dinner each year. Though the menu is still to be worked out through a series of weekly chefs’ meetings, one new addition for the Tower Bridge dinner will find Chris Tucker of Hook & Ladder creating cocktails for guests.

“All the great (ingredient) donations are coming through already,” Mizner said. “It’s going to be fun, and I think it’s only going to grow yearly.”

Sacramento branded itself as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” in October 2012 by a collective of city officials, chefs and others in the local food and farming industries.

The initial Farm-to-Fork Week of 2013 has been expanded into a two-week celebration. A showcase of local restaurants will run through the September celebrations, along with a Legends of Wine event Sept. 18 on the west steps of the Capitol, street fairs and more.

Meanwhile, organizers have established two full-time positions related to farm-to-fork endeavors. Three steering committees also have been created to oversee the direction of the farm-to-fork event, healthy eating outreach and the possible creation of a convention and speaker series.

“I don’t want people to think this is just about food, or a festival or the bridge dinner,” said Mike Testa, senior vice president of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. “If we really want to be America’s farm-to-fork capital, we’ve got to address things like diabetes and childhood obesity, things where food impacts our lives. The festival is the celebration, but this is a year-round endeavor.”

Read more articles by Chris Macias

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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