Sacramento Super Fan
Last time I visited Sacramento, I said I left a little piece of my heart there. Well, this time I've left proudly titled an official 'Sacramento Super Fan'. Here's why...
Upon arriving in San Francisco I was warmly greeted by the Butchers of America Capt. Danny Johnson and his wife (and my new style icon), Kathy. After making the drive back, with a quick stop off at 'In and Out Burger' (at the recommendation of team member, Travis and now endorsed by me) we headed to renowned Sacramento restaurant, Waterboy. No longer than two minutes after walking in the front door, Danny was asked how things with the World Butchers' Challenge were going, which lead to a perfect opportunity for me to be introduced (Take note #1). When you get to Sacramento, make a reservation here. Beautiful local produce, cleverly crafted dishes and knowledgeable wait staff.
The next morning we met our host team, led by Annie at Visit Sacramento at our arena location (official announcement to follow soon) and once again, I got goosebumps thinking about the shear scale of what's in store for us all in 2020. We filled the day with meetings and I was truly humbled at the energy and support Visit Sacramento is providing to us, being introduced to so many members of their team who are taking on specific jobs for the comp (Take note #2).
And then I got a real treat and an quintessential Sacramento experience with my very first pro basketball game feat. the Sacramento Kings and the New York Knicks. I learnt enough to understand that the season will well and truly be over by the time the WBC rolls around but why not start supporting them anyway! You'll be able to speak the lingo amongst a whole lot of Kings fans.
It turned out that I really lucked out with my timing, as the following morning I was invited to attend a special announcement at the Golden 1 Centre as guest of Danny and Kathy. As well as local talent, international Chefs - notably Thomas Keller and Alvin Leung - descended on the arena and the California Michelin Star Guide was officially announced, with the guide being revealed in early June. Considering this city is the complete embodiment of 'Farm to Fork' this is a huge kudos. While we were at this launch, we met with a number of locals - from those involved with high school education to media - who were all excited by the prospect of the WBC hitting Sacramento and wanted to get involved (Take note #3).
And after witnessing Thomas Keller, quite likely, America's most well-known Chef, tell Danny not only had he heard the WBC was coming to the USA but that he'd love to stay in touch and help Danny navigate it, I was lost for words. Almost. (Take note #4).
To top off the day, we headed to Ella (another must on my foodie recommendations of Sacramento) were we heard more from the Michelin team and their glowing review of Sacramento. And once again, from local farmers to a chocolatier - that makes the best chocolate I've ever tried - the offers of help and support for the WBC were endless (Take note #5).
So 'Take note', just as the people of Sacramento have built a community that live and breathe their ethos of being the farm to fork capital of the states, they're also completely behind the WBC. I know that as you all walk the streets of their city come September 2020, you'll 100% feel that. And for someone like me who has witnessed the humble beginnings of our competition, that's pretty incredible.
And as someone I met so aptly put it, Sacramento stops at nothing. They don't just dream it, they make it a reality. Make no mistake, this next World Butchers' Challenge is going to go down in history, as well as the champions that result from it.
- Ashley Gray, World Butchers' Challenge