May/June 2023 California Bountiful magazine
Chef appreciates life in
‘America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital’
Story by Barbara Arciero
Photos by Fred Greaves
Dane Blom laughs when he recounts the menu his older daughter selected for her latest birthday.
“I’m like, what kind of kid am I raising that picks sushi and gelato at 7 years old?” he says with a mixture of humor and pride.
His two daughters—the younger is 3—are growing up in a household that encourages a taste of everything. Their proximity to one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions makes the quest easier—and more delicious.
“We have this luxury that no one else has in the rest of the country,” Blom says.
He’s speaking as a dad but also as executive chef of Grange Restaurant & Bar, one of Sacramento’s best-known farm-to-fork destinations. The Sacramento native grew up in a family that frequented the neighborhood farm stand.
“We’d go get peppers and cucumbers and tomatoes and all these things. They were the best-tasting vegetables you could possibly have,” he says. “It’s a real luxury we have here, just having access to these beautiful products.”
Blom says he tries to purchase most of his fresh ingredients from within a 100-mile radius, a commitment that pays off. A coveted recommendation in the Michelin travel guide notes that Grange’s menu “shares a farm-focused sensibility with rustic creations.”
Being a chef, Blom says, is a “really crazy life” that involves significant sacrifice.
“But through all that, it is one of the most soul satisfying. You get instant gratification by seeing people eat your food and it just checks so many boxes for me. All the nights and weekends seem to not really matter when all those other things are so positive that it just helps override some things that could be seen as negatives.
“I am in love with my craft.”
- Pickled strawberry and spring pea salad
“The idea of pickled strawberries may have many people scratching their heads a little bit,” chef Dane Blom says with a laugh. “But I love pickled fruit and I think it’s a great way to showcase strawberries.”
- Asparagus and wild arugula salad
After winter’s muted tones, chef Dane Blom says he enjoys the burst of color spring brings to his menus. Here’s a delicious example.
- Dixon lamb daube
Chef Dane Blom says this Dixon lamb daube with spring vegetables, local polenta and chimichurri is an easy way for home cooks to impress friends. “It’s just a really soul-satisfying dish that’s not too heavy, but it’s still able to feed a crowd of people pretty easily.”
- Grilled ham chop
Instead of brining a whole ham, how about brining a few pork chops? The result: “ham chops” perfect for headlining a spring menu!
- Watsonville strawberries and sabayon
This dish, which chef Dane Blom calls his “favorite dessert of all time,” is an easy-to-make showstopper. At home, the chef often serves it over pound cake.