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

When you go over the Eastern Sierra Mountains and first see the Carson Valley, you can't help but think of the settlers coming across the valley in wagon trains and seeing the mountains that towered in front of them that they would need to climb. The Carson Valley itself is wide and impressive when looked down upon from 7,000 feet. For over a century it has been the home of many cattle ranches and generations of families. 

Much of the valley was owned by the Dangberg family in the early 1900s, but over the decades pieces of it were sold off. In 1997, the main ranch was bought by the Bently family. The Bentlys have also been in the valley for over 100 years and have a tight bond to the region.

The Bently's have done great things with the ranch and for the area. In my prior piece on Wild Horses, I noted how they have limited fencing to allow the horses onto their land. As for the ranch itself, they are creating a sustainable, green, environmentally friendly ranch that helps not only the area around them, but their neighbors as well. That's for another, future post. 

This month the Bently's opened up their own modern butchering facility in Gardnerville. What makes it particularly special is that they will have a USDA Inspector on site. They are the only ranch on the west coast that can say that. All other ranches must send their beef to be processed at USDA certified processing centers. Some of that beef will end up at Sacramento's new Echo & Rig steakhouse. 

But let's talk a little beef first.

Most people have no idea how the meat on that styrofoam plate ends up in the store. Many have no idea of the way animals are raised, what they are fed or given in the way of antibiotics or treatments, the process that goes to getting them to slaughter, or the butchering process. They just pick up that package of meat, cook it, and eat it.

The ideal is to have an animal that is raised humanely, with plenty of room to roam and live a happy life outside of pens.

Bently Ranch does just that. Their cattle are all completely grass fed. There are many ranches that start their cattle off grass fed, but finish them on grains to fatten them up during the last stage of their lives before slaughter. Not the Bentlys. "Grass fed beef is naturally lower in calories and offers significantly higher values of many nutrients than conventional beef. Our cattle eat only natural grasses and hay grown on our farm. They never eat grains or silage in order to promote fattening."

click to open larger
Bently Ranch has been certified as Global Animal Partnership Step Level 4 by IMI Global. You've probably seen that when you go to Whole Foods and they have the signs over the meat section. Step 4 pertains to being Pasture Raised. 
When it finally is time to slaughter, they are lucky enough to not be too far from Reno. The less travel time, the less stress on the animal. The cows are harvested in a small scale, local processing facility called Wolf Pack Meats. It is part of the University of Nevada, Reno. The facility is USDA inspected, and follows all guidelines for humane animal slaughter.  The beef is then returned to the Bentlys for processing at their new butchering facility. 

The beef is aged for three weeks minimum before being shipped off. Aging is an important process to the flavoring and tenderizing of meat, so it is a valuable step for quality meat. Bently Ranch is testing different aging times to see which is the best for their meat and the tastebuds of their customers. 

The butcher shop is the first to be LEED certified since it, like the ranch, meets green, sustainable goals for use of energy and reduction of waste.

Nathan Thomas is their Head Butcher. They knew they had found the right guy when he asked them more questions then they asked him. His butchery interest started in 2003 and he has held Head Butcher positions in several specialty shops in Seattle and Nevada. After being offered the job, he was told he could order whatever he wanted for equipping the cutting room, so he's in butcher heaven.

The meat is sold to restaurants, online, and to the locals. The Bentlys felt that their neighbors in the valley should be able to enjoy their local beef, and so the shop sells everything at a price point that makes sense for their community. I picked up some of their delicious beef, marrow bones, and bone broth. I make bone broth all this time, but theirs pops out of the container like a giant jello cube because it has so much healthy collagen. 

As Echo & Rig opens this month, the Bentlys will be looking for others who might be interested in serving their beef.