Baconfest Behind The Scenes


I live-tweeted the closing competition of the Baconfest. It was my first live-tweeting and I guess it went ok. I got grease on Ryan D’s keyboard and came pretty close to spilling bourbon on it (I hit the table instead). I judged last year and this year was a lot more fun, for various reasons, including more buddies doing the judging.

Rather than assigning points, this year we convened to a table in the back (with more whiskey flowing courtesy of Mulvaney) to hash out the votes. It was interesting to see how easy it was to build consensus. The whole panel of 6 had the same picks for first or second for most of the categories, which could be easily negotiated to pick a first place or a runner up. No one person’s opinion dominated.

I was surprised to find who had won – especially with Rachel Kelley of Revolution Wines winning best dish. I have never had anyone recommend the food there to me but I plan to check it out. Her dish was creative and surprising and not a salt bomb like so many others. I’m still salt-bloated 2 days later. I wonder how much sodium I ingested? The face bacon from Travis Surmi at Grange was my favorite overall, and I believe the panel voted unanimously to select it for best “non-traditional bacon”.

I was nervous to judge and my husband, who declined to attend, reminded me that people care more about the eating than the judging, and he is definitely correct. 50% or more of the people had left by 5 when the awards were announced. The chefs care more than the attendees and it’s touching to see their reactions.

We all put a lot of thought into our decisions and recognize the work and skill involved in something as seemingly simple as a little cured pork belly. We all evaluated everything objectively and had an open mind about every dish. This is all not to say that you couldn’t buy my vote for the right price….


Back of the House

Everyone's a Critic

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