Chef Besh served up some hot buttered crab with caviar on toast. Oh, and there were a few edible flowers to boot. I loved this luxurious dish. Crab, butter, caviar... I must be someone special to eat like this! I was impressed how the salt of the caviar did not overpower the delicate crab flavor. The caviar itself added a nice textural element and I loved the "pop pop" they produced in my mouth.
Jonathan Waxman provided us with a simple southern succotash with gnocchi. I loved his choice of local ingredients, including my personal favorite, okra. While I was hoping for a chicken dish from this fowl-loving chef, I was quite pleased with his well-flavored gnocchi.
Chef Aaron Sanchez was once again being painfully cute and flirting with all the diners. I didn't get a single picture of him where he wasn't giving me the sassy face. Chef Sanchez created a Brussels sprout salad with fried pork fat crumbles and pickled onions. I know this wasn't a contest, but this was my number two of the evening. The sprouts were cold, crunchy and served a way I'd never had them before. Add that to the earthy smoke flavor of fried pork fat, and you have a winning dish. This is something I will try to replicate at home if I'm ever feeling brave.
Chef Donald Link offered the diners a shrimp salad sandwich and tuna crudo. While I loved the shrimp salad itself, I felt like there was too much bread and the bun-to-filling ratio was off. I wound up eating the salad with just the bottom part of the bun. On the other hand, the tuna was perfect. Whatever sauce he added was a perfect light flavor, allowing the fresh fish to remain the star.
Chef Tim Love did a nice grilled lamb rib. It was cooked perfectly, even down to the lovely grill marks. My one issue was that they Frenched the bones. As a fat lover, I think all the good stuff is in the fat, and bone fat is the best fat. I spoke to one of Chef Love's sous chefs, who told me they Frenched it for ease of serving, but at their restaurants they don't French every lamb dish. Good to know!
Chef Michael Symon presented another beautiful lamb variation- a rib with grilled lemons. I was amazed by how much flavor can be added just by squeezing a bit of grilled lemon juice over meat. Chef Symon was certainly playing to the crowd (assuming he knew of my love of bones) by giving me something tender and lovely to gnaw on. Ladylike, y'all! If the event wasn't ending, I would have run back for another one of these.
Chef John Currence created the perfect chicken meatball. I have no idea how anyone can keep anything made of chicken that moist and tender. The meatball was so soft and flavorful, almost changing my skeptical mind about chicken and meatballs in one bite. The added bonus was the cheese chip served along side the meatball. It soaked up all the flavors!
Jeni's ice cream. This sundae was made with salted caramel ice cream, chocolate and whiskey sauce, candied nuts and fresh whipped cream. This might have been the most gluttonous blow of the evening, but by this point I didn't care. I polished off my sundae and waddled back to my car, knowing that the next day I would have to eat just as much.