With an emphasis on the region’s rich bounty and the crossover from summer into fall, chefs this week previewed the five-course menu for the eagerly anticipated Sept. 27 Tower Bridge dinner.
Now in its third year, the event has emerged as the centerpiece for Sacramento’s popular Farm-to-Fork Festival and has become known, among other things, for being one of the most coveted tickets in town. This year, the $175-per-person dinner sold out online in mere seconds.
A closely guarded secret for weeks, the menu – released Monday – includes a sturgeon pastrami with heirloom beets, endive and chicharones made with the skins of the fish that are fried until they are puffy and crisp.
Led by chefs Ravin Patel of Selland Family Restaurants and Oliver Ridgeway of Grange, the all-star team has been meeting and planning for weeks. On Monday, they turned their menus into reality and previewed the food during a media event at the Citizen Hotel.
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“I’m really impressed the way that we did recognize the time of year,” Ridgeway said. “You can go really summery and think tomatoes and corn, but putting that nod to the fall is a smart idea, because that’s what we’re moving into. It’s almost like that harvest time of year.”
Patel and Ridgeway conceived one of the main courses, which highlights the sturgeon raised at Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse and includes endive from renowned grower Rich Collins, owner of California Endive in Rio Vista.
One of the most talked-about courses promises to be the charcuterie, which will be served early in the dinner. The array of cured meats by Brock MacDonald of Block Butcher Bar has been months in the making, including coppa, calabrese and a chicken liver parfait.
Patel said he hopes the dinner makes a multifaceted statement about Sacramento’s emerging food and beverage scene. In recent years, the Sacramento Convention and Visitors Bureau has made a major marketing push to identify the region as “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.”
“It’s restaurateurs and culinary people coming together,” said Patel, “to celebrate something that’s not unique to Sacramento but something that I think we do better than anyone else – that’s growing amazing product and eating amazing food year-round just because of where we’re located and the kind of people we are.”