Chef John Panza of BiGA will be a featured chef at our Farm to Table Dinner on August 30, 2020.
Chef John has lived in the Prescott area for six years. In July 2016, he and his (now) wife Cassandra started the catering company Senses. In May 2017, they took over BiGA. In 2019, John’s Chophouse opened in downtown Prescott, but the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced the difficult decision to close the restaurant. Through all of these ventures, John continues to showcase his love of local ingredients. Supporting local agriculture is important to him because of the access to the best freshness and quality in food and helping to keep the small business economy alive in our town. On Saturdays, you will find him shopping at the market for the freshest ingredients. Plus, we anticipate his participation in the Chef in Action program again when the time comes.
Chef John’s favorite dish to make is risotto. He loves to cook with tomatoes (luckily for us, tomato season is right around the corner!), but his personal favorite is artichokes. Bringing people and community together through food is what drives Chef John’s passion to be in the kitchen every day.
This year’s Farm to Table Dinner is approaching quickly, and we wanted to know what Chef John is looking forward to most. He said, “Both Cassandra and I are most looking forward to working with the other chefs while supporting such an amazing event. We enjoy being around others who truly love what they are doing; it makes cooking fun again! While it’s always fun to live your dreams, it’s also nice to surround yourself with people who share those dreams and have a passion for feeding their community, like I do. It’s a double bonus that we get to showcase the wonderful, local food from around town.”
It’s important to find the silver lining in tough times, and we asked Chef John to share what he discovered: “This pandemic has been incredibly difficult for us all around but it wasn’t hard to see the silver-lining of it all right away; being able to spend more time with my family has been truly eye-opening and amazing. I never realized just how much time I was missing with my family while trying to run two restaurants and being forced to take a break and ‘relax’ with my children and, now, wife was the best thing that could have come out of the situation. I never realized just how jealous I should have been of their teachers, getting to spend so much time with them and molding their minds…. don’t get me wrong, I never want to homeschool again, but it was a wonderful/miserable experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
We’re grateful that the Farm to Table Dinner remains a must-do for Chef John!