There’s always that thing that people are talking about – a buzz worthy site, a new favorite flavor, or a growing familiarity of the interesting characters in our well-connected city. To be in on this conversation though, you’ve got to know who’s Killin’ It. It’s an interview relay featuring Sacramentans exhibiting mastery of a skill related to Sacramento Foodways.
Sacramento’s Bacon Fest 2014 is Killin’ It.
For those in the trenches of the Sacramento food culture, this week-long celebration has grown beyond the spectrum of salty/smokey pork and increasing reservations in are restaurants. Bacon Fest has quietly been able to sustain itself based on the eager participation of committed chefs and staff, loyal food enthusiasts near and far, and the small but strengthening community that represents Sacramento’s identity that isn’t exactly a new sensation, but perhaps just building its confidence.
Co-founders Brian Guido and Nick Miller both say developing and nurturing these strong relationships within the “Farm to Fork” community lies deeper than any (arguable) marketing slogan.
“We’ve helped take what was one of the slowest times of the year and make it one of the busiest, and that’s what we want,” says Nick Miller. “We want to drive business, we want our favorite places to be busy and we want people to know more about good food and great chefs doing what they do. That’s what it’s all about. “
“We want to be putting back into the community,” says Guido. “This is our best year from sponsorships, we have some great donations, and we’re making sure everyone gets what they need. This isn’t possible without some really great people participating and we always want to make sure that everyone is taken care of.”
What makes Bacon Fest unique is the way it stimulates local chef’s creativity and their fiscal interests too. The festival bookends with an Opening Party January 19th at Grange, with eclectic specials being featured all week at places like Kru, Formoli’s, Restaurant 13 and more. The Third Annual Bacon Fest Chef Competition closes things down on Sunday, January 26th at Mulvaney’s Building & Loan. Tickets for the event sold out at in record-breaking 80 minutes.
“I think that some people were upset that we sold out so soon. But I say, if you really want to get out and try something, go to those places like Magpie or Bacon & Butter and get a great meal,” says Guido. “You’re still part of it, and we want people to be able to look at eating, even when it’s bacon, in a different way and make that kind of thinking more approachable.”
Chefs that participate in this year’s competition will also have much of their product provided for them, a humble feat that is practically unheard of in common local food festivals. One is this year’s featured sponsors is Rancho Llano Seco, a renowned organic meat supplier from Chico that’s recently created buzz with Chez Panisse of Berkeley.
As for its britches, Miller thinks that that Bacon Fest is about as big as it’s going to get. “People have said, ‘Why don’t you do it at Cal Expo, at the Convention Center. If that’s what the chefs want to do, but until then I think for now that everyone likes what we’re doing, we like it to be small and meaningful. I hope they’re having fun. In ten years, when it’s still small, I think people will appreciate it more.”
As for who they think is Killing It, Nick suggests Track 7 as the best place in town for local brew. There’s also a tasty variety of food trucks that are scheduled monthly, so it’s a great way to try some of Sacramento’s homegrown, eclectic flavors all in one fun, community-driven spot.
Guido recommends this newly opened sushi site is the perfect place that’s Killing It. Fresh, intimate, and delectably simple, he mentions that if you find yourself sitting between the likes of Billy Ngo from Kru and Taka Watanabe from Taka’s, you know you’re going to be eating well.
We’ll check out both places based on their suggestions in the next KI, creating a cool (and hopefully completely edible) bridge that shows how much our varying tastes actually keep us connected throughout the city. Keep up with Sacramentofoodways.com to find out where we go next!