Monday, March 8, 2010

A Pinch of This, A Dash of That - March Events

On Tuesday, March 16 the Sacramento Social Media Club is presenting a program entitled "Eating Social: Social Media and Food" at the Urban Hive in Midtown. They've put together a panel of PR pros and bloggers to talk about how they use social media to dish about food. They kindly invited me to participate and I happily accepted. I'm very fortunate to work for a restaurant and hotel that actively uses social media and allows me to promote the dessert program through this blog, Twitter and Facebook. I'm the only chef on the panel and I'm looking forward to picking up lots of tips about how to improve my blogging and twittering skills.

There's a great event at Grange on Friday, March 19. We're presenting our Bourbon & Hog Dinner featuring Woodford Reserve "Grange Blend" Bourbon. Our Chef de Cuisine, Brad Cecchi and our head bartender, Pete Tachibana traveled to Kentucky in February to meet with Woodford Reserve's Master Distiller, Chris Morris. The three of them sampled bourbons and created a signature blend for Grange that has a refined character with notes of orange and vanilla. I know, tough job, right? Grange is the only restaurant in California offering its own signature blend and we're pairing it with Riverdog Farm pork in a 5 course Southern-inspired dinner. My contribution will be a petite dessert plate featuring Mint Julep Ice Cream, a Crispy Chocolate Bacon Bar, Bourbon Truffles and one or two other treats. I'm having so much fun with this menu!

The day after this fabulous dinner I'm heading to the Bay area for the 4th Annual San Francisco International Chocolate Salon on March 20. All things chocolate - tastings, demos, authors, chefs, speakers. What a great way to spend the day in a city I absolutely adore! One of the exhibitors is TCHO, my local supplier of artisan chocolate. Their product is fantastic and I love using it in my desserts. In fact, I'm using TCHO as part of a "chocolate flight" in our Scandal Lounge on Friday nights. The chocolates are a sweet finish to a menu highlighting craft beers, house-made charcuterie and artisan cheeses.

Then, the ultimate foodie thrill. On Friday, March 26 Grange is hosting a reception for Ruth Reichl. Yes, that Ruth Reichl ... the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine, prolific author, restaurant critic, recipient of four James Beard Awards! Ms. Reichl is one of the featured speakers in the California Lectures series at the Crest Theatre and our reception follows her lecture. It's an incredible honor to cook for Ms. Reichl and Chef and I are working on a menu that will spotlight the fantastic seasonal ingredients we're privileged to use at Grange. I admit I'm a wee bit nervous ... March is not the most bountiful month for produce that I can use in desserts, but I have few ideas I'm working on and I know it will be an amazing, unforgettable evening!

Whew! That closes out the month of March. I'm not sure how you top cooking for Ruth Reichl, but something tells me April will be just as fun and exciting!