The fourth annual Sacramento Farm-to-Fork Celebration will return September 8-25 with its usual beloved events as well as some new twists.
Steve Hammond and Mike Testa of the Sacramento Convention & Visitor’s Bureau laid out some key developments today, standing in front of a star-studded cast of chefs and farmers who will be key parts of the Tower Bridge Dinner. For the first time, chefs are pairing up with farmers for each of the five courses.
Also for the first time: Ticket prices are going up from $175 to $199, but they might be slightly more possible to get this year. Attendees can only purchase two tickets at a time instead of four, and there will also be a random drawing. You can register (for free) from 5 p.m. July 12 until midnight July 21 at www.farmtofork.com for a chance to win. At noon on July 22, the lucky winners will get emailed a special code to purchase tickets. Unclaimed tickets will get transferred to the waitlist.
Another first: A nationally-recognized chef will participate in the Tower Bridge Dinner. Rick Moonen is perhaps best known for being an early champion for sustainable seafood practices. He runs RM Seafood and Rx Boiler Room in Las Vegas, and he competed on Top Chef Masters.
Is it strange to have a celebrity chef showcased at an event that’s celebrating Sacramento?
“We have an appreciation and respect for chefs across the country, not just Sacramento,” said Molly Hawks (Hawks Restaurant). She and Allyson Harvie (the Patriot) are leading the chef team for the Tower Bridge Dinner—they are also the first two women selected to cook for the event—which includes Billy Ngo (Kru), Kelly McCown (the Kitchen), Ramon Perez (Puur Chocolat) and MIke Fagnoni (Hawks Restaurant).
Fun fact: Fagnoni actually worked for Moonen many years ago in New York as a line cook. We’ll see if Moonen remembers him.
As for the direction of the dinner itself, Hawks said the team hasn’t had the opportunity to get together and hash out plans just yet.
“Overall, the objective is to take what we’ve learned from prior dinners and step it up,” she said.
As for other events, Testa emphasized Farm Tank, a soon-to-be annual agriculture and food summit in Sacramento taking place September 21-23. There will be interactive panels, hands-on activities and words from some of the world’s biggest food industry leaders.
“We’d like to create the South by Southwest of food here in Sacramento with Farm Tank,” Testa said.
The big Farm-to-Fork Festival on September 24 on Capitol Mall is adding two more blocks, making the total festival a half-mile long. Moonen will also be at the free festival along with a national, to-be-announced headliner on the music stage.