|Missy Robbins, Princess of Porc|
Robbins was up against some stiff competition - the early favorite seemed to be Alex Guarnaschelli, who has experience engaging in similar battles after her recent win on The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. Her table was mobbed for pretty much the entire night, as was Elisabeth Falkner's, as everyone was eager to greet the San-Francisco transplant after the recent two-star Times review of her eatery Krescendo. Shanna Pacifico dished out small bowls of pork sausage and beans and Leah Cohen's table was eagerly pushing the rum shots they had prepared to go with her plates of meat.
The winner went with a simpler strategy - instead of crazy dishes meant to impress people hopped up on meat lust, Robbins prepared a few solid items that were minimal on the bells and whistles. Her pork meatball was one of the most delicious bites we had all night, and we didn't feel the contradictory desire to keep eating / go home and lay down that was on display with some of the other dishes in the room. Even though hers was a bit more toned down, there were still flourishes to impress the carnivores: "I just got pig-blood dust all over my shirt," one diner was overheard saying as she ate a piece of dough dusted with a dried version of the shriek-inducing ingredient.
The title doesn't just mean that Robbins gets to walk away with the glory - she'll be moving on to Aspen to compete against other chefs who win other regional battles throughout the country. Onward!