Creating a Culinary Community


Diningwise, Sacramento has definitely come into its own in the past few years, with an explosion of exciting new restaurants. Even Zagat, which had forever snubbed Sac, finally is including us in its elite guide to the culinary crème de la crème.

But public perception of what the area has to offer is still lacking, which inspired Amber Turner to form SacTown Dining Collective. The group has been together only a short while, but it already boasts a long list of members, including many of the area’s foremost chefs, restaurant owners and other key players in the culinary community.

“I saw an opportunity to increase public awareness of what the area has to offer,” says Turner, a marketing specialist for Spectrum Restaurant Consulting. “Our members put their heart and soul into what they do, utilizing the very best in local products, and we want people to experience all that we know Sacramento has to offer.”

It looks like she may be onto something.

The collective’s kickoff event, a $45-per-person dinner at Plates Cafe in early June, sold out quickly. Other events under discussion at the time of this writing included a bike/restaurant crawl and private dinners for charitable causes, possibly at Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse, which in addition to being a sustainable freshwater fish farm boasts an event venue, The White House.

Owner Michael Passmore, a member of the collective, says his involvement is “ancillary,” but that he likes to play a supporting role to the many local chefs and restaurateurs he now calls friends. “I hear the refrain that we’re a small town, or something to that effect, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative thing,” he says. “Chefs in another environment would be competitive. But it’s a little bit different here, in that these guys really help one another.”

Kimio Bazett, owner of The Golden Bear and a board member of the collective, agrees that a spirit of cooperation is key. “I’m a big believer in cooperation and collaboration,” he says. “In this economic climate especially, it’s the only way we’re all going to make it.”

For more information about SacTown Dining Collective, visit the group’s Facebook page