Sacramento’s Farm to Fork chefs were featured at a special luncheon on Friday afternoon at The Lodge at Pebble Beach. While PBFW has featured city centric events before, none have had as large a contingent as the Sacramento one. The lunch featured nine of the eleven Sacramento chefs attending. The two others, Ginger Elizabeth Hahn and Brad Cecchi, will be at the Grand Tasting Tent on Saturday.

Sacramento stands out from many other food cities due to two specific characteristics. The first is the draw of chefs to a city where they have all the great ingredients but also an affordable place to live and raise families. There are many transplants from more expensive cities such as San Francisco and Seattle. Many hometown chefs will leave for stints at Beard and Michelin rated restaurants throughout the world, only to come back to Sacramento to settle down. Other chefs arrive from far off cities or countries and fall in love with everything Sacramento has to offer and decide to stay. Secondly, the chefs love the friendly collaboration of its food community. In Sacramento there is no competition or animosity. Here the chefs love to work together, help each other out, support the community, and just have a good time. They share their knowledge and grow from their collaborations. That’s why you will see many connections between them in the bios below.

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Michael Passmore - Passmore Ranch
Starting off with the only one of the group who is not actually a chef or part of a restaurant, Michael Passmore instead supplies some of the best known restaurants and chefs in California and the country with his farm raised fish and small batch caviar. His giant ponds and tanks near Sacramento contain sturgeon, trout, catfish, bass, and more. Passmore Ranch fish have received a "Best Choice" rating from The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program. His fish will be featured by chefs at several PBFW events including the Sacramento Farm to Fork lunch as well as by Chef Jeremiah Tower at his Saturday dinner.

When the Sacramento chefs have a day off and are craving some sushi, you will usually find them at Bill Ngo’s Kru or grabbing a quick poke bowl from one of his Fish Face Poke Bars. Ngo was born in Hong Kong, but raised in Sacramento, making him one of the local boys who has stayed in the city he loves. At Kru he’s known for having the best omakase with bites featuring seafood from Passmore Ranch, off the coast of California, or as far away as the crystal blue waters off Hokaido, Japan. Kru is one of a select few restaurants to get 4 Stars from the Sacramento Bee. At Fish Face you can enjoy make-your-own poke bowls that are not fluffed up with noodles or rice.

Michael Fagnoni - Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay, CA and Hawks Provisions + Public House in Sacramento, CA.
Sacramentans were thrilled when Michael Fagnoni and his wife, Molly Hawks, opened up their second location on the edge of Midtown. For years they had had to drive out to the original Hawks for a stellar fine dining experience - one of the few 4 Star restaurants in the region. At the new Public House they have a more relaxed gastropub atmosphere but still serve food with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. Fagnoni has worked under renowned chefs in San Francisco and New York City including Rick Moonan at Oceana, Mark Sullivan at The Village Pub, and Traci des Jardins of Jardinière.

not much room to move
Edward Martinez - Milk Money
Edward Martinez considers Sacramento his home and the local chefs his family. After a life in gangs and time in the juvenile system, he managed to find a new life in the pastry world. He started in local restaurants such as the above mentioned Hawks before leaving to work with such famed chefs as Tyler Florence and Michael Mina, and in several restaurants in San Francisco and Las Vegas. In 2016 he won a StarChefs Rising Star award. He left the 2-Michelin Starred Lazy Bear to return to his Sacramento family to open Milk Money, featuring artisan crafted donuts and ice creams. Advanced pop-up previews have included donut creations such as the Ghostface Killah (black-pepper brioche, Strawberry Quik, powdered sugar) and the flaming Green Goblin (brioche, white chocolate, coconut and matcha).

Brock MacDonald’s culinary life has been in Sacramento working at the area’s (then) best restaurants, including Masque, Spataro, Tuli Bistro, and Thir13en. Over the years he developed an interest and expertise in butchery and charcuterie, leading to his position as Head Butcher and then Executive Chef at Lowbrau and Block Butcher Bar. Soon he and owner Michael Hargis will be opening Beast & Bounty, featuring dishes for either the carnivore or the vegetarian equally. Expect to also find desserts developed by his best friend, pastry chef Edward Martinez.

Kelly McCown - The Kitchen
Over the years Kelly McCown has been showered with plenty of accolades as he worked at restaurants on the west coast. He’s worked as Chef de Cuisine at the James Beard Foundation's Flying Fish and at Michelin starred Martini House, been named a "Rising Star Chef"  by Bon Appetit Magazine, and has been featured in pieces by Conde Naste Traveler, the New York Times, and Michelin. McCown opened one of Sacramento’s most popular restaurants, Ella, with the Selland Family before moving on to Goose & Gander in St. Helena. He has since returned to the Sellands to helm their flagship restaurant, The Kitchen. The Kitchen features a dinner show of multiple courses over four hours. It is considered the best value of high priced dining due to being that it is all-you-can-eat hospitality.

Oliver Ridgeway - Camden Spit & Larder
British native Oliver Ridgeway had moved many times in his life as a chef. Raised in London, he’s worked for famed chef Paul Prudhomme in New Orleans, at the James Beard House in New York, the Sydney and Salt Lake City Olympic Games, and even aboard the Queen Elizabeth II. In Sacramento he found a city where we felt he could settle down and raise a family. He brought his love of farm fresh ingredients and nose-to-tail dining to the Grange Restaurant within the Citizen Hotel. He recently left to branch out on his own with the soon to open Camden Spit & Larder, an homage to his London roots. The name refers to the spit-fired meats that will be featured as well as a “larder” that will be available for event bookings.

Dane Blom - Grange
Sacramento native Dane Blom has been a part of the local scene for many years. After culinary school and a stint at Michelin-starred Terra in Napa, he returned home to work at the original Hawks location in Granite Bay. He then worked several years as Chef de Cuisine with Oliver Ridgeway at Grange before returning to the Hawks family as Chef de Cuisine at Hawks Public House.  Upon the news of Ridgeway leaving Grange, he was asked to return as their new Executive Chef. He plans for everything to be made in-house, from the hamburger buns to the charcuterie, while keeping focus on his Sacramento roots.

Ramon Perez - Puur Chocolat
Ramon Perez grew up in the restaurant business, starting at his father’s restaurant, Auberge du Soleil, at the age of 12. It was there that he started learning and creating pastries before heading off to culinary school. He has worked at 3- Star Michelin restaurants; De Librije and Parkheuvel, as well as becoming Executive Pastry Chef for the David Myers Group in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. While there, Ramon was a James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef, and winner of the Star Chefs International Pastry Competition. Missing the Sacramento area and its abundance of farm fresh produce, he returned to start his chocolat line in 2013. He has plans to open up a specialty dessert location in Sacramento in the future.

Brad Cecchi - Canon
Brad Cecchi has returned to Sacramento after a successful run as Executive Chef at Michelin starred Solbar in Calistoga. Another Sacramento native, Cecchi started as a teen making pizzas at the local Embassy Suites before moving on to some of Sactown’s well known restaurants: Mulvaney’s B&L and Grange. Canon features contemporary California Mediterranean with a mix of Asian flavors and fermented ingredients.

Ginger Elizabeth Hahn - Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates
She may be listed on the PBFW roster as from San Francisco, but that’s only because Ginger Elizabeth Hahn is promoting the opening of her second store located in the Cow Hollow area. Her Sacramento store was opened in 2006 and has featured her distinctive chocolates, an array of macarons, and signature desserts. In the winter she has special cupcake or custard days, while in the summer she focuses on ice creams and sundaes featuring fresh picked fruit from the region.  In 2010, Hahn was named one of the Top Ten Chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional Magazine.

My keto update is going to take several posts because there is a lot to share. On this one I'll start with my blood work results. 

I need to start with a bit of a disclaimer first. I'm doing lazy keto, meaning I'm not obsessively counting grams and calories. I just can't be bothered. But this goes against strict keto rules and on certain forums I would get yelled at for espousing non-strict keto. I'm lazy keto because I already know and eat wholesome, unprocessed foods, can cook, and I research, research, research. So I have a good knowledge of what to eat to fit the keto ratio of 20g of carb, 65g of protein, and about 100g of fat (numbers vary per individual). I also have a good metabolism that recovers quickly. (More on that later.) This blog is my account of MY keto journey and will definitely not apply to people with health issues, obesity, bad eating habits, and more. Most people DO need to be super strict keto and never cheat and count everything that crosses their lips when they start.

Keto is a WAY OF LIFE versus a diet and is proving to be a highly beneficial eating program used to treat all sort of health issues. In Europe it's being used to treat diabetes and cancer. That is why I am keeping at it. Yes, the loss of 12 pounds and my back fat is definitely a bonus, but the most common comment I get is "what do you need to lose weight for?" I don't NEED to lose weight.

My keeping to this keto thing is because I like the OTHER health results I'm getting from it. I mentioned in my February keto post that I'm sleeping much better, my energy is improved, and my tendonitis, that I've had for years, is gone because keto is anti-inflammatory. Considering my choice was lousy sleep and/or use of a c-pap machine, then eating my way to healthy sleep is certainly a more attractive way to go. 

But in this post, let's talk blood and cholesterol.

Blood test results

One of the biggest fears of people who hear that keto is a high fat diet has to do with cholesterol.  "How can you eat such high fat, lots of dairy and fatty meats, and not be concerned with cholesterol?"

Those lipid panel blood tests we've been getting for the last 40 years...that science is OLD and outdated. Turns out there is NEW science, but most doctors are still unaware of it. In fact, I'm battling (not really) with my Kaiser doctor about it. I'm actually educating HIM!

Last month when I got my test results of 300+ cholesterol, I immediately got an email from my doctor saying it was time to be put on a statin drug. No thanks! I had just read the book Cholesterol Clarity  about the new science and wasn't about to take a bunch of drugs. We've always been told that LDL is the BAD cholesterol and if it's high, we are in trouble. But it turns out that there is actually good and bad LDL and the standard lipid panel does not break those down. Small LDL is the bad one, while large, fluffy LDL is the good one. The only way to find out the breakdown of those numbers is to get an LDL particle test. Unfortunately, Kaiser doesn't even offer it!  I would have to go to an independent lab and pay $100-$150 to get that test done! I'm now advocating for Kaiser to get current with latest cholesterol science!

Last week my results were even higher than February!

I plugged in my numbers into the NEW calculator (link above) and found out I'm perfectly healthy. This new calculator uses your standard lipid panel numbers and calculates the ration of HDL-LDL-Triglycerides to get an idea of what type of LDL you have. In this shot of my results, the upper section is the old science saying I'm in trouble. The lower half is the new science using ratios and shows I really have nothing to worry about.

Yes, my cholesterol went even higher once I started keto, but my good HDL went up and my ratios look good and healthy.

Other tests (potassium/sodium levels, thyroid/liver/kidney function, etc.) came back as healthy.

In the next part of my keto update, we'll talk about ketone measuring and then we will talk about the awesomeness of fasting.

Recommended resources

It's my 3-month keto-versary! How am I doing? Well let's just say I cleared out my cupboards of all carby foods (beans, rice, bread crumbs, etc.) and gave it all away to friends. I thought I'd start my keto update with the basics before I go into my latest changes regarding blood tests, fasting, etc. 

Keto Terminology and Information

Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. When it doesn't have enough carbohydrates from food for your cells to burn for energy, it burns fat instead. As part of this process, it makes ketones.

Ketones are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy that occurs when carbohydrate intake is low.

Fat adaptedWhen in a fat-adapted metabolic state the body actually prefers to metabolize saturated fats, does so easily and at much higher rates than are considered possible by conventional standards of sports physiology. So now, rather than accumulate in the body, saturated fats become the most potent energy source.

Glycogen is a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose that serves as a form of energy storage in humans, animals, fungi, and bacteria. It is the main storage form of glucose in the body.

Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a metabolic pathway that results in the generation of glucose from certain non-carbohydrate carbon substrates. It's the using of glucose (sugars) for fuel.

Putting it all together

Your body needs fuel to create energy to survive. Without food, our body dies. The food we consume comes in three basic forms: carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. 

The two types of energy the body can use come from either burning easily accessible sugars (glucose) or fat. When you burn sugars, it's gluconeogenesis. A popular analogy is to use an example of a refrigerator and freezer. You have a bunch of food frozen in the freezer, but it's faster and easier to just reach into the refrigerator to grab food. Gluconeogenesis is reaching into the frig for easy food.

Ketosis is using fat for fuel instead of sugars, but your body stores/uses fat as reserves for an emergency, so it doesn't like to access the fat unless necessary. It is the food in the freezer, stored away for emergency or when there's nothing left to eat in the frig.

People who do the keto diet don't really eat carbs or sugars in order to empty 'the frig' of all easy food. The first few days/weeks your body burns through all the sugars it has available until it has no more and has to resort to fats for fuel instead. Keep in mind that too much protein can cause your body to turn some protein into sugars, so protein has to be limited as well. That's why most of the calories consumed by those on keto are from fat.

Once your body has successfully transitioned into fat burning mode (ketosis), and you can move pretty easily from gluconeogenesis to ketosis, you are fat adapted. The reason I say easily transition between the two is because your body always has some glucose to burn after every meal. The key is that it is limited so that you go back to fat burning quickly after.

Some signs that you are fat adapted:

  • You have more energy
  • You aren't hungry
  • You aren't always thinking about or craving carby foods
  • Better sleep
  • Improved endurance during exercise

Great keto resources I recommend:

Jimmy Moore: Both of these are by Jimmy Moore, who is one of the leaders of keto education. He was morbidly obese and lost his weight and became one of the first to really get into keto and the medical benefits. He has lots of information and works with many doctors.
Cholesterol Clarity - learn about the new science!
Keto Clarity
Podcasts: Keto TalkKeto Hacking MD, and Living la Vida Low Carb

Facebook groups:  There are many Facebook groups for keto that get really bogged down with repetitive questions since there are newbies every day. Still, Ketogenic Success is considered the best of all for keto education and help from certified Keto Coaches. It's sister group is Ketovangelist Kitchen, which is specifically about food/recipes.

Dr. Eric Berg is a chiropractor who is very knowledgable on the medical side of keto.
Siim Land is a guy who has been doing keto for many years and presents info in a fun way.
Thomas DeLauer is a fitness trainer who is also very knowledgable about keto. I think some of his videos are hard to follow when he gets too medically technical though.
Dr. Fung is the leading doctor in the science of fasting, which is a large part of keto.

Other than Jimmy Moore, I also listen to:
Heathful Pursuit - she is especially good regarding keto and women's health. She has many food allergies, so her cookbooks do not have dairy or eggs. She's also dealt with female health issues.
Perfect Keto - is actually a keto supplement company, but is considered the top one that almost all use. They just started a podcast.

Seven and a half years ago I had a small idea. Have a film festival for all the food documentaries that I never seemed to catch in Sacramento. Now it's time for the 6th edition of this great event series with another incredible line-up of films about food.

My friends at The Food Literacy Center have taken over this event as their main means of fundraising. It's a worthy cause of educating elementary school children to learn to love vegetables and eat more fresh, healthy foods. 

This  year's goal is to have fewer events that can reach more people with larger attendance. Therefore, there are only four events...and one is already sold out!

Check out the schedule below and then buy your tickets. We sell out every year, so don't procrastinate!

April 9, 2018 6:30 pm
Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent
Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.
Famed chef Jeremiah Tower is coming to the Crest Theatre April 9 to present the film Anthony Bourdain created about him, “Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent.” The kickoff to the 2018 Food Film Festival is a special screening that will be preceded by an exclusive question-and-answer session. This is your chance to see the man Sacramento chefs are excited to meet, and who played a pivotal role in transforming the way America eats to focus on farm-to-fork fare.

Tower is renowned for leading the kitchen at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in Berkeley, where the insistence on fresh local ingredients quickly gained notoriety. He is also known for Stars, a restaurant he ran in San Francisco for 14 years, as well as other projects across the country. This event will be Tower’s formal introduction to Sacramento as the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America, and he will be back in September to work with Sacramento chefs and lead the program for the Tower Bridge Dinner.

The film tells Tower’s story – beginning with his entrance into the industry and following the rise and tumultuous times that have made him a controversial figure and America’s first celebrity chef. Find out from the film and from the man himself why Anthony Bourdain says, “Jeremiah Tower’s menus made…a complete reevaluation of not just American food and ingredients – but food.”

Event Details:
• Q&A and Film Screen will take place at Crest Theatre, 1013 K St.
• April 9, 2018
• Doors open at 6 p.m. with Q&A beginning at 6:30 p.m.
• Film screening will be at approximately 7 p.m.
• Ticket pricing: $15 in advance / $20 at the door


WASTED – SOLD OUT!Lucca Restaurant & Bar

Location: Lucca Restaurant & Bar, 1615 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814
Film: Wasted! The Story of Food Waste – Nari Kye & Anna Chai

April 14, 2018 - 5:30pm - 8:00pm

Saturday Night ShortsColonial Theatre

A fast-paced night featuring food from top local chefs, short films about food, a comedy pun-off and tasty libations.
  • General Admission $50.00
  • General Admission $60 (Prices go up in 2 weeks)
  • Early Bird $40.00 – SOLD OUT
  • VIPea $75.00 – SOLD OUT
Location: Colonial Theatre, 3522 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820
  • Ernesto Delgado, Mayahuel
  • Edward Martinez, Milk Money
  • Brenda Ruiz, GEO Academy at Grant High School
  • Cesar Cienfuegos, UC Davis Dining
  • Santana Diaz, UC Davis Health
  • Whole Foods Catering
Films: Short Film Contest Winners
  • Super Veggies – The Superha Family
  • Hand Picked – Casey Toth
  • Tuka – Ian Midgley
  • Operation Apple – Giselle Kennedy
  • Food City: Feast of the Five Boroughs: Lars Fuchs & Matthew Fleischmann
  • Camelina – Lucas Bryce
At Saturday Night Shorts, you’ll get:
  • 5-7 small plates/bites prepared by some of the Sacramento region’s best chefs
  • Beer and wine available for purchase
Upgrade your experience! Go VIPea! Tickets include:
  • Swag bag
  • 1 free drink
  • Reserved VIPea seating
  • Exclusive free small plates/bites during pre-party
  • In-seat wait service (drinks for purchase)
All proceeds from this event will benefit Food Literacy Center.
Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable and nontransferable. Parking is limited. We recommend carpooling. We are unable to accommodate special diets. 

Broccoli HQ nightLeataata Floyd Elementary School

The Sacramento Food Film Festival celebrates food and drink paired with films about our food system. On April 21, community leaders will gather for the first public experience on the future Broccoli HQ site. The evening will showcase the architectural drawings and the project’s designers will share their plans. This year’s Finale event features small plates and bites from an all-star cast of local chefs, a “school lunch” dinner prepared by Sacramento Unified School District’s Nutrition & Food Services and a feature film from America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital!
Location: Leataata Floyd Elementary School, 401 McClatchy Way, Sacramento, CA 95818
  • Rick Mahan – The Waterboy
  • Kurt Spataro – Paragary’s
  • Billy Ngo – Kru
  • Chris Jarosz – Patriot
  • Santana Diaz – UC Davis Health
  • Whole Foods Catering
Lunch Line - A documentary that takes a new look at the school lunch program by exploring its past, its current challenges, and its opportunities for the future, from filmmakers Ernie Park and Michael Graziano.
4:30PM Mocktail and appetizer stations located throughout the 2.5 acre site of the future Broccoli HQ. Guests will enjoy bites by Sacramento’s top local chefs, view drawings of the project and walk the site. Remarks from Steve Hansen, Sacramento City Council and Jay Hansen, Sacramento City Unified School District Board Member.
6:00PM School lunch is served! Guests will join us in the elementary school cafeteria, where they will eat a family-style meal served on school lunch trays. The meal, prepared by school food service professionals, will feature the ideal school lunch.
6:10PM Program begins. Hear from Kevin Smith, Northwest Land Park & The Mill at Broadway and Food Literacy Center’s Founding Executive Director Amber Stott about their visions for the Broccoli HQ and its ties to existing school wellness programs happening at SCUSD.
6:30PM Film screening.
7:30PM Event concludes.
All proceeds from this event will benefit Food Literacy Center.
Please note: Tickets are nonrefundable and nontransferable. Valet Parking. We are unable to accommodate special diets.

Many people know that I am all for food literacy - educating oneself on everything that pertains to food: where it comes from, how it is grown, the health benefits, the people who produce it, etc. One of the best ways in our area to learn more about the food system is through The Culinary Institute of America in nearby Napa. You don't necessarily have to be attending the CIA either. They have several educational opportunities that are open to the public.

One of them is their series, Conversations at Copia. Each session focuses on a theme and has panel discussions with experts. Some of the past topics have included:

The next one is coming up in a couple of weeks. The Culinary Institute of America has announced the theme for their April 7-8 will be a focus on Sustainable Seafood and Bay Area Watersheds.

Guests will have the chance to learn more about sustainability and what chefs, fishmongers, and winemakers are doing to protect our rivers and oceans for the future. The highlight of the weekend will take place Saturday evening, which will include A Sea Change panel discussion and walk-around reception in their new one-of-a-kind teaching kitchen.The interactive reception will give guests the opportunity to mingle with the presenters and chefs while sampling selections from Napa Green Certified Wineries and sustainable seafood.
Presenters for the featured event on Saturday night will be Hog Island Oyster Co. co-founder, Terry Sawyer; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher, Sarah Mesnick; TwoXSea co-founder, Kenny Belov; and Cakebread Cellars founder, Bruce Cakebread; along with 25 Lusk executive chef Matthew Dolan serving as the moderator for the panel.
Additional activities throughout the weekend include a Guest Chef Demonstration from Fine & Rare Seafood and Wine Shop co-founder Ted Wilson; a demonstration from Chef Matthew Dolan that will include a singing of his book Simply Fish: 75 Modern and Delicious Recipes for Sustainable Seafood; a double feature of the movies Blind Sushi and Of The Sea in the Copia Theater; and much more.
Tickets will be sold separately for each of the weekend’s events and classes. For a full list of events and to purchase tickets, click here