Chef Oliver Ridgeway, of Grange Restaurant & Bar, was born and raised in Sussex, England, but since 2011 has called Sacramento home. Being in the heart of California farmland makes Ridgeway’s menu at Grange a snapshot of the season and the neighborhood. There might be Panchmore Ranch trout with farro, beets, peanuts, lemon soubise, and salsa verde on offer, or a Storm Hill zabuton (a cut of beef also known as the chuck tail flap) with smoked chiles, Brentwood corn, pickled onions, radishes, and cilantro. A gluten-free option might be zucchini “zoodles” with pesto.
For Ridgeway, life in the kitchen began in his father’s restaurant, where, he says, he “enjoyed the environment and the buzz.” After studying cooking at Crawley College, he worked at England’s Le Meridian Hotel, the Brighton Metropole Hotel, and the ship Queen Elizabeth II, before heading to the U.S. to stage with chef Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. He landed gigs cooking for the VIP boxes at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He was later executive sous chef at New York’s Restaurant Carlyle, and executive chef at The Verandah restaurants at Jumby Bay, Antigua, and Anasazi Restaurant in Santa Fe.
International travel has colored the way Ridgeway looks at a dish, and his openness and inventiveness have landed him twice on the Saveur 100 list, which celebrates the world’s most noteworthy people and places in the world’s food community.