May 21, 2009
Celebrity chef Waters stirs flury among some in Sacramento, but not all

Talk about an important dinner service.

Grange Restaurant and Bar had a special guest for dinner Wednesday night ï·“ the mother of California cuisine, Chez Panisse co-owner and chef Alice Waters.

Waters was among a party of about 20 people dining at the J Street restaurant and also stayed at the Citizen Hotel Wednesday night, said Sarah Essary, a spokeswoman for Grange.

Waters was in town for the premier of Food Inc., a documentary that explores the corporate-controlled food industry being shown at The Crest Wednesday night.

She also is in town to help plant and dedicate a vegetable garden at Capitol Park this morning alongside California first lady Maria Shriver and celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

Waters and her party dined around 6:45 p.m. and chose items from Wednesday's dinner menu.

Waters had the local farm lettuce salad with sun dried tomatoes, North Valley Farms' chevre and a fig balsamic vinaigrette.

She also dined on grilled Bledsoe Farm lamb rack chops with olive oil crushed potatoes, minted fava beans and pancetta and a tapenade.

Specific compliments to Grange Chef Michael Tuohy were not overheard, but "I know that they enjoyed themselves," Essary said.

One ingredient that was specially procured for Waters' visit, however, wound up not being served.

A Grange staffer was spotted at the farmer's market at Cesar Chavez plaza Wednesday afternoon purchasing several pounds of cherries.

The chef was overheard eagerly remarking to the vendor that "Alice Waters is going to eat these."

The vendor looked at the chef with a blank stare.

"Who's that?"

No word on what became of the cherries.

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