Homegrown chef to prepare meal for West Sac residents at July 28 DigIn! Dinner

Pangaea executive chef Brett Stockdale will cook a meal using locally sourced ingredients

Originally published in the July 20, 2016 print edition of the West Sacramento News-Ledger

This month’s DigIn! Dinner will be held July 28 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the weekly summer Farmers Market and will feature chef Brett Stockdale, who grew up in and currently lives in West Sacramento.

According to the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce, the dinner series is held on the fourth Thursday of each summer month and takes place under the big tent at the Farmers
Market on West Capitol Avenue just outside City Hall.

Each dinner features a local chef who creates a family style three-course meal using local produce and ingredients, most of which are sourced from products available to buy at the Farmers Market.

Tickets run $65 apiece and include the meal, beer from Bike Dog Brewing Co., wine and $5 to spend at the market. As space is limited, there are only 100 tickets available in total,
so interested parties should register early.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit a local non-profit or charity. This month’s beneficiary is the Center for Land-Based Learning, an organization based out of Winters that, according to its official website, is “dedicated to creating the next generation of farmers and teaching California’s youth about the importance of agriculture and natural resource conservation.”

Mary Kimble, executive director for the Center for Land-Based Learning—which is partnering with the Chamber of Commerce this year to help manage the Farmers Market—said the organization works with four urban farms in the city and that three of those farms sell their products at the Farmers Market.

“The funding that we get from the dinner is very helpful for the programs that we run and to keep those programs running in West Sacramento,” said Kimble.

Stockdale is the executive chef at Pangaea Bier Café on Franklin Boulevard in Sacramento and was chosen, in part, because of his connection with West Sacramento. He attended Kitchen Academy, which is now owned by Le Cordon Bleu, and after an internship at Mulvaney’s B & L in downtown Sacramento led to a two-year position as sous-chef for the restaurant, Stockdale spent some time working at Range Restaurant in San Francisco, but ultimately decided he’d rather work closer to home.

“It just wasn’t my place,” said Stockdale. “I really like West Sac and I like the Sacramento area and with the amount of produce and everything that we have, it’s just the same as San Francisco. You know, we have access to all the same products so why not cook here?”

Upon returning home, Stockdale landed a position at Pangaea as the sous-chef and eventually worked his way up the executive chef position. After working a DigIn! Dinner a couple years ago while employed at Mulvaney’s and then attending another one last year with a friend, Stockdale said that led to him being nominated to be the featured chef for a dinner.

“People from West Sac come over to Pangaea, but not as many as you would think because you’ve got to come over the river and everything, so I’m really excited for people from West Sac to see what I can make,” said Stockdale.

Stockdale said he doesn’t yet know what will be on the menu, though he’s been trying to plan based on what’s in season, but he says you really have to wait until just before the dinner to make sure products will be available.

“I like to leave it a little bit closer to time because, you never know, pears are here now and then all of a sudden the farmer is like, ‘they’re not there’ and then sometimes things are in season and you’re like, ‘that’s here now? I would have done something [with that],” Stockdale explained. “I’ll definitely check out the whole market before I really decide where the menu goes.”

The DigIn! Dinner series is presented by Raley’s and this month’s dinner will be hosted by West Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Beverly Sandeen.

“Both the Farmers Market, as well as DigIn! Dinners, are really an opportunity to bring the community out and continue to give that local exposure,” said Director of Public Relations & Public Affairs for Raley’s Chelsea Minor. “We know, as a food business, that it’s really about creating those relationships and memories around good food and good drinks.”

Minor explained that the dinners are served in an intimate setting, which she says provides a great way to get to know the other people in attendance.

“The DigIn! Dinners are a fantastic opportunity for us to both serve the community with a new opportunity to get exposure to great food from the Sacramento region, but also to connect with some of our local West Sac residents.”

For Stockdale, being chosen to cook the meal at the DigIn! Dinner is a huge honor, especially since he is from West Sacramento.

“I’m super proud of West Sac and what West Sac does and the community that we have [here],” said Stockdale. “I think West Sac people tend to stick together and we want to support the groups that have supported us. All these people that are going to be at this dinner probably supported me in one way or another throughout my life. So, I think it’s a great chance for me to showcase what West Sac has produced in me and then something I can do for them in thanks and to help support a local cause. I think it’s a win-win for everybody.”

About Daniel Wilson

Daniel has been a writer for over 25 years and recently earned his Bachelor's degree in journalism. Portfolio: www.dwilsonjourno.com.
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