After two years, the Tower Bridge dinner has become known as the year’s culinary highlight and among the toughest tickets to get in town. In 2013, tickets sold out in eight hours. Last year, they were all scooped up in under a minute.
If you’re one of the thousands who tried and failed to secure a seat or a table in Years 1 and 2, you have a week to figure out a new strategy for the third annual Tower Bridge dinner on Sept. 27. Yes, tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday July 20 at farmtofork.com.
The dinner costs $175 per person, and individuals are limited to buying four tickets. The dinner on the Tower Bridge serves 740 people and about one-third of the tickets will be available to the general public. Most of the others are locked in for corporate sponsors.
“When we started this, we had no idea how popular it would become,” said Mike Testa, chief operating officer for the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau, which developed and promoted the slogan “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital” over the past three years.
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“As we enter Year 3, we approached this event as, ‘If it ain’t broke, don't fix it,’” added Testa, noting that the format, price and number of guests remain the same. Only the lead chefs change year to year. For 2015, chefs Oliver Ridgeway of Grange and Ravin Patel of Selland Family Restaurants will lead the dinner. I’ll have details Tuesday on the team of chefs in charge of each course of the dinner.
As for what’s cooking, Ridgeway and Patel are keeping that secret for now.
While many have been frustrated that the dinner sells out so quickly, there are no plans to expand the event or change the way tickets are sold. You have to be fast. You have to be lucky. You have to have $175.
“A lot of it is luck of the draw,” said Testa. “We had 2,000 people vying for a limited number of seats last year. Unless we plan to expand the bridge, the seating will continue to be limited, and the demand will continue to be high.”