Food & Drink

‘Breaking Bread’: This new TV show will highlight Sacramento’s ‘rock star’ chefs

A new TV show will gather 12 Sacramento chefs or food experts around a table for unscripted conversations about food and restaurant life.

“Breaking Bread,” a joint project through Visit Sacramento and local visual production company Moonracer Films, will feature six half-hour episodes, which have yet to be shot. Producers plan to set certain topics such as mental health or nontraditional approaches to food service and let the chefs go from there, Visit Sacramento CEO/president Mike Testa said.

“Aside from great food, there’s a lot of industry, world-related issues coming out of this market,” Testa said. “We saw an opportunity to put folks around the table and start that conversation.”

Eight of the 12 conversationalists have been selected: N’Gina Guyton of South, Chris Barnum-Dann of Localis, Patrick Mulvaney of Mulvaney’s B&L, Billy Ngo of Kru, Ginger Elizabeth Hahn of Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, Molly Hawks of Hawks, Oliver Ridgeway of Camden Spit & Larder and Santana Diaz of the UC Davis Medical Center. The remaining four may be other chefs as well or other people in the local food world such as farmers and nonprofit heads, Testa said.

Moonracer Films and Misfit advertising agency made a concerted effort to bring a range of viewpoints to the table, said David Flanagan, who co-owns both Sacramento companies. Ridgeway and Ngo are immigrants, Guyton is one of Sacramento’s few black female chefs and Mulvaney’s efforts to curb addiction and mental health crises in kitchens have drawn a national spotlight.

There will be kitchen shots aplenty, but “Breaking Bread” wants to get more personal than shows such as “Chopped” or “Iron Chef,” Flanagan said. Barnum-Dann, for example, talks in a trailer released last week about his artistic tendencies and how his “crazy chef” personality can initially be off-putting.

“What we didn’t want to do is just another food show,” Flanagan said. “The real strategy behind ‘Breaking Bread’ is to delve into the rock star mentality that chefs have been getting these days, and then go a little deeper.”

Misfit plans to sell the series, which will be shot on 8K cameras like those used for the trailer, to a local channel first with the end goal of getting some play outside of Northern California, Flanagan said.

Filming “Breaking Bread” will cost about $500,000, which Visit Sacramento plans to cover through sponsors, Testa said. It’ll cost more to air on a network, though that may be subsidized by further ad sales.

The series announcement comes a month after Michelin’s first review of Sacramento, which saw one star go to The Kitchen. Localis and Mulvaney’s B&L were included in the guide as two of the city’s 10 “Plates,” given to good but not great restaurants.

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Benjy Egel covers local restaurants and bars for The Sacramento Bee as well as general breaking news and investigative projects. A Sacramento native, he previously covered business for the Amarillo Globe-News in Texas.