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 farmtofork.com. 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.”