|Chef Cosmo Goss fought for and won the title Prince of Porc|
Kevin Hickey – It was a carnival of meat at the Allium station. Hickey commanded his post from a mini hot dog stand, serving his signature houssemade sausages. Each of his dishes was inspired by a different neighborhood in Chicago. The hot dog represented downtown, while the rest of the neighborhoods were a bit more ethnic. Of course, a Warsaw BBQ rib bone-in pierogi represented Ukrainian Village. The flavors of Little Korea we captured in a kimchi stew with a poached egg. Braised pork belly and pickled pineapple tamale was served in honor of Pilsen. Finally, headcheese chetta with ramp giardiniere, rhubarb mostarda was served on calabrese chili focaccia for Little Italy.
Cosmo Goss – The Publican Quality Meats booth served dishes that showed off the chefs’ understanding of meat – from sausages to pâtés to the signature pork rinds served at The Publican. Each dish was accompanies by a custom sign with a cartoon pig. The fist and one of the standout dishes was a pork pancake served with The Publican’s house bacon, breakfast sausage and maple syrup. The mini meal continued with pork loin tonnato, nduja pudding with cuttlefish noodles and a blood sausage with aged balsamic strawberries. His final dish was one of our favorites of the evening: A non-vegetarian version of churros and chocolate. Pork skin was dusted with cinnamon and served with pork jus chocolate caramel.
Ryan Poli – The “apocalypse pig party” was in full swing at the Tavernita station, including a dancing man in a pig costume, bubble machine and chefs dressed in capes and pig masks. Poli’s five dishes stuck to his specialty of Spanish cuisine. Soup dumplings were made with a pork consommé. A braised pork shoulder sope was served with mole sauce, creama and pickled red onions. Mini shepherds pies were made with bacon a pig cheek topped with peas, cherries and potatoes. A head-to-tail paella was the star of the spread and used tonged, tail and face chorizo as well as smoked ham. Light beignets topped with whipped lardo and strawberry preserve ended his selection.
Matthias Merges – Across the ballroom on a less over-the-top table was Yusho. The first dish served is a favorite at restaurant. The Logan Poser ramen was served with crispy pigtail, braised shoulder, ume boshi and pickled ramps. The pigtail was served like a fried dumpling floating in the savory broth with traditional noodles. The careful selection of well-plated dishes continued with “Dead Emperors Legs” – stuffed leg with black fungus kanzuri and watercress. A steamed bun was served with braised salted neck, kimchi and cosmo sauce. Merges final dish was a Tianjin rolled headcheese with tamarind pickles, lotus root and puffed skin.
Joshua Adams – Rounding out the five was the only non-Chicago restaurant. Adams is the executive chef at June in Peoria Heights, IL. The restaurant specialized in organic modern American cuisine using ingredients from regional farms. He served six dishes including a Thai sausage and wood grilled pork loin with pork skin noodles. Most of his dishes took on an Asian flair such as smoked tamarind-apple glazed shoulder on a sesame lard bun as well as pork and tea flour dumplings. His most eye-catching dish was a ham cotton candy spun on site and served with pineapple upside-down cake.