March 1, 2013
Local chefs react to mayor proclaiming 2013 as 'Year of Food'

RB Farm Fork 5.jpg

The announcement of a bid to keep the Sacramento Kings in town wasn't the only news coming from Mayor Kevin Johnson's "State of the City" speech on Thursday night. Johnson proclaimed 2013 as Sacramento's "Year of Food," with initiatives that include a major food festival in September, chef showcases and food education. This decree stems from Johnson branding the Sacramento as "America's Farm-to-Fork Capital" in October (as pictured above).

"There's no better theme to capture who we are and what we should be known for," said Johnson on Thursday night. "We are so lucky to have some of the nation's most impressive culinary talents in the city and we're excited about showcasing them."

Chefs Patrick Mulvaney and Adam Pechal stood in support of this announcement. Both chefs broke away from their nightly cooking duties, including Pechal hosting a Sacramento Beer Week dinner at his Restaurant Thir13en, to hear the mayor speak in support of food. In the hallway of the Memorial Auditorium following the State of the City, both chefs were happy with what they heard.

"It's a great recognition for the things we do all the time," said Mulvaney, clad in his white chef's coat. "The mayor announcing this as the Year of Food brings more awareness to the agricultural heritage of our region and it's a great time for us to talk about all this."

Pechal appreciated the increasing civic support for Sacramento's food culture, which includes the local farmers which many area chefs source their key ingredients.

"It's an honor that the mayor's putting this as a priority," said Pechal, who was recently featured on the ABC cooking show "The Taste." "We love to cook this food. It's healthier for everybody. It's supporting our community and keeps the money in our area. It's sustainable in function and business. I got chills when he said it was the Year of Food."

On the consumer end, this Year in Food will mean an uptick in chef showcases and local food education. The mayor pledged that each month in 2013 will feature an event under the "Farm-to-Fork Capital" banner, and also include food education in local schools.

"For the dining public, this is a chance to connect more fully to our heritage," said Mulvaney. "When we talk about 'farm to fork,' people always want more information. This will be the crux of what's going to happen for the 'Year of Food.' We want everyone to be eating healthier so we can all move forward."

A major "Farm-to-Fork Capital" festival will take place around the Sacramento area in late September. It was announced Thursday that this week-long celebration of local food will include a Sept. 29 dinner on the Tower Bridge for 500 plus people. One long community table will be set up on the bridge, with one end on the Sacramento side and the other on the Yolo side of the Sacramento River. The idea is to create a metaphoric bridge between the city's chefs and an agricultural area. Some of the initial chefs who plan to participate include Mulvaney, Pechal, Molly Hawks (Hawks Restaurant), Randall Selland (The Kitchen/Ella) and Oliver Ridgeway (Grange).

The event's still in the early planning stages, so stay tuned for ticket information. Organizers are also trying to figure which local wines and/or beers will be showcased, and we'll keep you posted on that as well.

"Food defines who we are as Sacramento, and we want this to be a family dinner," said Mulvaney. "It'll be like a huge jam session, and we want to make it work."


* Sacramento touted as America's 'Farm-to-Fork Capital'

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