I recently had the opportunity to be part of what will (hopefully) be the first of many chef-blogger activities at one of my favorite Sacramento restaurants: Grange. With the arrival of new Executive Chef Oliver Ridgeway came a fun contest opportunity for a few area food bloggers, and I had the privilege of being part of this select group. Our challenge: to create a soup recipe that showcased the spirit of Grange’s mission. That mission: anything and everything fresh, local, and California.
I was a bit conflicted about what recipe to submit as I have a lot of new recipes I’m trying to save for my book. There was one that I was this close to entering and I’m confident it would have been a much stronger contender than the Butternut Leek Bisque I submitted (seriously, the new soup is that ridiculously good!). Alas, I decided to be prudent and act in the best interests of my future projects rather than be too hasty.
To thank us for our submissions, and to give us an opportunity to meet with Chef Oliver and try some of his creations, we were invited to a nice Saturday lunch at Grange. With my good friend Jodi in tow, we joined Sac bloggers, Garrett of Vanilla Garlic, Ann of SN&R, and California Food Literacy Center, Stephanie of 52 Kitchen Adventures, Melissa of Pretty Yummy Foods, Dawn of Kitchen Travels, and Amber of Awake at the Whisk and California Food Literacy Center. We were handed glasses of champagne and after some fun conversation, our meal began…
My soup did not win the contest, but that was A-okay by me as I’ve had my own soup plenty of times and Ann’s panade was pretty darned amazing. But we don’t enter these things for the glory of winning (at least I don’t); we enter them because we food bloggers love too cook, eat, and then talk & write about cooking & eating. To be invited by a nice restaurant for an exquisite lunch and be in the company of other awesome bloggers – and get a nice gift certificate to enjoy another great meal at Grange just for entering – was a good enough reward for me. The opportunity to practice my food porn making skills with dishes as beautifully presented as the ones we enjoyed was a great little bonus!
If you’re in the Sacramento area anytime soon, be sure to stop by Grange and check out the great meals Chef Oliver is making. If I’m to judge by what we had for lunch that Saturday, I think it’s safe to say there will be some incredible things happening at Grange in the near future. But from a blogger’s standpoint, the coolest thing they’ll be doing is featuring Ann’s panade on the Dine Downtown menu next month – what an honor!
Happy Friday, everyone!