NorCal Chefs Gather for Day of Networking, Learning, and Inspiration

More than 45 Bon Appétit culinarians and marketing folks from throughout Northern California got together for a Chefs’ Exchange to network and enjoy one another’s company in this high-growth region. Organized by Oracle Culinary Director Tim Hilt, Adobe Executive Chef Brian West, University of San Francisco Executive Chef Joe Debono, and Presidio Foods Culinary Director Robbie Lewis, the meet-up included an educational component as well, providing an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the region’s Farm to Fork and Locally Crafted vendors and programs.

Learning in the fields at County Line Harvest

A Farm to Fork/Locally Crafted vendor breakfast fair and purchasing session at the University of San Francisco — with a video town hall meeting with Senior Purchasing Manager Theresa Chester and Sourcing Specialist Danielle Pilarski — kicked things off. The Bon Appétiters mingled with representatives and snacked on samples from Nana Joes Granola (bars and granola), Peas of Mind (carrot-, broccoli-, and cauliflower-based potato tots), Chromatic Coffee (beverages), Baker’s Bacon, Shaw Bakers (assorted pastries), Love & Hummus (hummus, tahini dressing, and falafel), Lev Probiotics (kombucha), Wine RayZyn (chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon raisins), and ReGrained (snack bars made from upcycled beer grain).

Participants then took a bus to County Line Harvest, where they enjoyed a farm tour. A barn party at Marin Sun Farms / Mindful Meats ended the day in style with the chefs grilling, enjoying an amazing buffet spread, and mingling with representatives from Marin Sun Farms, Mindful Meats, Vince’s Shellfish Company, Wholesome Bakery, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, and Chacewater Winery.

Stunning greens and flowers

District Manager Steve Ganner thanked the organizers and attendees after the event, saying: “Sometimes we all get caught up in our forever growing business. It was nice to take a step aside, network, get back to roots, and enjoy what we are all about. ”

Vendor Donna Sky of Love and Hummus echoed the sentiment: “I can’t thank you enough for inviting us to be part of the great event you organized, orchestrated, and created. Not only did we have an opportunity to meet so many chefs from different Bon Appétit locations we hope to work with, it was also an overall inspiring and beautiful day.”

Submitted by Joe Debono and Brian West, Executive Chefs and Northern California foragers