The California Roast



The California Roast is a festive annual tradition conducted in Sacramento for over thirty years.


Governors, Speakers, Senate Presidents, Attorney Generals, Treasurers, Budget Chairs, Democratic and Republican Party leaders and others gather to pay “respect” each year to the honoree. The humorous and edgy crossfire of our high profile panel provides our audience with insights into the present, history and future of California politics.


Over six hundred attend including legislators from both parties, lobbyists, executive branch officials, political and public affairs consultants, friends and foes of the Roastee, and others. They appreciate the insights into the dynamics and personalities affecting the legislative, budget-making and political processes of that moment. The California Roast and the jokes are featured in the press, websites and social media exchanges.

Roast 2020

Due to state and local stay-at-home orders, we've cancelled the event. We're working on an alternative fundraiser later in the year and we'll keep you posted as we get closer. We'd like to thank you in advance for your continued patience and support. 

Roast 2019 

The California Roast event was cancelled in 2019. The annual event has stood the test of time for over 35 years. This year after inviting six prestigious individuals to be the guest of honor, they have all declined due to a conflict in schedule. 


Proceeds of this event support our crucial public policy programs for youth. Your annual contribution supports the acclaimed Women in Politics and Green Focus programs and will help support our general operations as we transition into another exciting chapter here at the CalCenter.


We recognize all of our generous sponsors who have contributed over the years, and our hope is that donors will continue to recognize the incredible impact we have had on young lives and will continue to support us now and into the future. Please stay posted for new opportunities to get involved with us and check out the latest announcements and news on our home page! Thank you and we hope to see you next year at the 2020 California Roast! 

The 2018 event:
Senate pro Tempore Toni Atkins

The California "Toast" for 2018 featured a full panel of guests, with our special guest of honor, Senate pro Tempore Toni Atkins. The Governor's Appointment Secretary Mona Pasquil was the Master of Ceremonies. Our panel guests were Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, Assemblywoman, Dr. Shirley Weber, Republican Leader Patricia Bates and Senator Janet Nguyen.

Last year we put the traditional Roast aside to do something different and pay tribute to women leaders who help shape our democracy and lead the way.  The spirited exchange provided humor and insights about participants and the history and future of women in California politics. The panel shared heart felt stories and anecdotes that had our audience captivated. This timely event shed light on the fact that women all over this state (and country) are ready and willing to take leadership to improve their communities and beyond. With that being said, we were thrilled to have many of our young people in the attendance so that they may hear from our speakers on these important topics. Our hope is that the tribute inspired our youth and participants to be leaders and change makers.  A big thank you to all our participants and sponsors!  What a night!!  


Proceeds benefit the California Center for Civic Participation non-partisan youth programs focused on state and local government.  


In more than thirty years we have honored Speakers Willie Brown, Antonio Villaraigosa, Fabian Nunez, John A. Pérez, Karen Bass, and Herb Wesson; Senate President pro Tempores Darrell Steinberg, John Burton, Bill Lockyer and Don Perata; Republican Leaders Jim Brulte, Kevin McCarthy, and  Dick Ackerman; and Governors Gray Davis, Pete Wilson, George Deukmejian and more. You never know what you might hear!



Past Roastees

Visit our Resources page to see Roast posters from 2000-2018. Each one is a unique illustration made only for that year's event. Download your favorites!

2018 - California Toast | A Tribute to California Women: Senate Republican Leader
Patricia Bates, Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber,
Senator Janet Nguyen, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Secretary Mona
Pasquil Rogers

2017 - Senate Republican Leader Chad Mayes
2016 - Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León
2015 - Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins
2014 - Party Chairs John Burton and Jim Brulte
2013 - Assembly Budget Chair Bob Blumenfield
2012 - Break from the action!
2011 - Assembly Speaker John Perez
2010 - Sen. Pres. pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg
2009 - Assembly Speaker Karen Bass
2008 - Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman
2007 - Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata
2006 - Assembly Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy
2005 - Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez
2004 - Brulte, Burton, Vasconcellos, Alpert, et al
2003 - State Treasurer Phil Angelides
2002 - Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson
2001 - Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte
2000 - Governor Gray Davis
1999 - Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa
1998 - Senate President pro Tempore John Burton
1997 - Senate President pro Tempore Bill Lockyer
1996 - Attorney General Dan Lungren
1995 - Assembly Speaker Willie Brown
1994 - Senator Ralph Dills
1993 - Senate Republican Leader, Ken Maddy
1992 - Judge James Garibaldi
1991 - Governor Pete Wilson
1990 - Assembly Republican Leader, Ross Johnson
1989 - Senator Al Alquist (Budget Chair)
1988 - Superintendent Bill Honig
1987 - Senator Bill Campbell
1986 - Senate President pro Tempore, David Roberti
1985 - Attorney General John Van De Kamp
1984 - Governor George Deukmejian
1982 - Assembly Speaker Willie Brown