Bounty of the County celebrates fifth year at Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Bounty of the County celebrates fifth year at Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley

Lorraine Jewett
Special to The Union

Sixteen regional farms and ranches supply the ingredients, nine local chefs work their magic, and the result is the Fifth Annual Bounty of the County.

The culinary extravaganza takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Gold Miners Inn in Grass Valley. The fundraiser will feature small plate tastings, no-host wine and beer, a silent auction, live music, and art for sale.

Sponsored by Nevada County Grown, a marketing organization for Nevada County agriculture, Bounty of the County will again host a Best Chef competition in which guests sample and vote for their favorite dishes.

"This is a fun way for farmers, chefs, and the community to come together to celebrate what is great about our local food and art scene," said Chris Riccio, Nevada County Grown Secretary.

Several of the invited restaurants are newcomers to the event and will take on local, established favorites. Zach Sterner, chef at Penn Valley's Twelve 28 Kitchen, is the defending champion of the Best Chef competition.

"We were completely surprised to be honored as best local chef last year, and we look forward to hopefully winning over the crowd again this year," said Sterner.

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But the competition will be stiff.

Kaliko's Hawaiian Kitchen is known for "bringing poke to the people" in the form of traditional Hawaiian food. Kaliko's has been a popular concession stand at festivals and other events throughout Nevada County. Recently, owners Tyler Freeland and Megan Sasaki set up shop at 110 York St. in downtown Nevada City.

Sasaki said winning the Best Chef award against seasoned competitors would be a compliment.

"It's an honor to be included in Bounty of the County," she said. "We're excited to help showcase the farms. We consider ourselves supportive of fellow business owners, but it's a competition and we'll be competitive. We're going to do our best to bring some new, different flavors. We come from a humble point of view, but we'd love to have the title."

Another new competitor at the event will be Falafel Kis and its Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Alon Greenstein, chef of Falafel Kis (Kis means "pocket" in Hebrew), promises something special at Bounty of the County.

"It will be something with Mediterranean flavoring," said Greenstein. "I'll prepare something that sparks your taste buds."

Greenstein knows Bounty of the County's Best Chef contest is a competition, but he said he plans to simply enjoy the experience.

"We're going to have fun," said Greenstein, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Israel. "I'm a newcomer so I have no expectations. Since I'm coming from a foreign country, I'll make my best food fantasy that I think will offer something the others don't. I'll use the event as a platform to bring something new to the table. It's like a tryout."

Part of what makes the event unique is that farms and ranches provide the freshest produce and meat, but because it's all so fresh, ingredients are limited to what's in season. That's also what creates a challenge for the chefs as they prepare to serve 500 tastings.

"The farms provide a list of the products they should have in late September, and the chefs select from that food list," said Nevada County Grown President Debbie Gibbs. "The chefs decide which small tastes will work with those products. This is truly cooking from the season, at least for the veggie and fruit side. And where meat is used, chefs couple it with the produce that works best."

Gibbs said most commercial restaurants determine their menu, then order ingredients from big warehouse companies that carry all items regardless of the season.

"In those cases, the food is somewhat secondary," she said. "Obviously, Bounty of the County is a legitimate farm-to-table event where the food is just as important as the chef."

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

KNOW & GO

Fifth Annual Bounty of the County

September 20, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Gold Miners Inn, 121 Bank Street, Grass Valley

Tickets: $25 advance, $30 at the door

http://nevadacountygrown.org/bounty/