Between the Southern Food Tour launch party on Saturday at the Goat Farm and the Cochon 555 competition and tasting event on Sunday at the Sheraton Atlanta, a whole lot of pork was cooked and consumed over the weekend, washed down with a bounty of libations.
Though it was a chilly evening, the Goat Farm’s main hall was decorated for a gala, with flowers candles and art lights casting a genial glow.
Andy Minchow was behind the bar, mixing up several different specialty cocktails, including a creation with pickled blueberries. And Jeff Heck, the “CEO Guy” of Monday Night Brewing had Eye Patch IPA and Drafty Kilt Scotch Ale on tap.
Chef Kevin Gillespie worked a pair of cleavers and served up Georgia-style chopped pork while greeting fans and patiently giving updates on his new Glenwood Park restaurant, Gunshow. The name has created a little controversy, Gillespie admitted, but said an April opening is still on track.
Along with Southern Food Tour founder, Kathryn Cesari, chef Ford Fry served as a sort of unofficial culinary master of ceremonies. Dishes from Fry’s chef team included a deconstructed pig roast plate, duck gumbo with potato salad by The Optimist’s Adam Evans, and super spicy Mississippi-style tamales by JCT Kitchen’s E.J. Hodgkinson.
Fry served as a judge on Sunday afternoon at the Cochon 555 competition, along with Aria chef Gerry Klaskala, Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol, and many others.
Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon’s Full Service, Guy Wong of Miso Izakaya, Joe Schafer of King and Duke, Ryan Smith of Empire State South, and Whitney Otawka of Farm 255 were the chef contestants tasked with breaking down a whole heritage hog and creating a plate with five different dishes.
The plates were judged for presentation, head-to-tail use of the hog, and overall taste.
Ryan Smith took home the trophy with a plate that included a judge-wowing bologna soup dumpling with bologna-shoyu puree and pickled mustard.
Chef Todd Mussman and his Local 3 and M&T crew cooked the post-awards whole-hog victules, which included blood sausage tamales.
— By Bob Townsend, Food and More blog.