by Laurel Harrison
Did you know that we, as Sacramento-ans (Sacramentonians?) live in the largest arable valley in the world? We have access to a veritable cornucopia of fruit, vegetables, meat, wine, and beer, all in our very own backyard. It’s no wonder the farm-to-fork movement is successful in Sacramento when you take note of the big names in our corner; namely, Chef Santana Diaz, Executive Chef at the newly established Golden 1 Center.
Last week, the SacFoodies had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain and receive a full tour of the Golden 1 kitchens, led by Chef Diaz himself. We at SacFoodies love to support and learn more about local eats and establishments, so we jumped at the chance to learn more about Golden 1’s “90% from 150” program. Through this program, Chef Diaz and his staff source 90% of their ingredients from within 150 miles of the arena. As a foodie, I was fascinated – what does an arena kitchen look like sans “big box” food? What does a prep day look like when you have whole, fresh ingredients to prep for thousands of people?
Chef Diaz has set out to change arena food from the ground up, completely transforming what it means to make, buy, and eat food in a sports arena setting.
From the get-go, I was impressed by the attention to detail and hands-on nature of Chef Diaz and his team. There were no dark corners in this arena kitchen – everything was gleaming, pristine, and utterly dedicated to the production of quality food. Even though I had been to the arena and eaten the food, I had no idea just how much of the arena food is done in-house. I got to walk through the walk-in freezers and see tub after tub of pickling jalapenos, pickles, and onions (for the nachos), rows of rising dough (for the pizza), and huge mixing bowls of ground lamb (for the gyros). Nothing calls to me like tubs of house-pickled jalapenos – if you’re pickling those bad boys in-house, I feel like I’m in good hands.
It’s hard to pick my favorite aspect of the food production at Golden 1, so I’ll share a few highlights of the day.
by Laurel Harrison