Greetings Bacon Nation:

There will be much more post-game coverage to come, but we thought we’d get this info out there first:


We LOVE our chefs.  Without them, there would be no Baconfest.  They are creative, ingenious and generous.  Their enthusiasm for bacon and for the community that food brings together is inspiring.  Our event is about love for all bacon dishes – as our Manifesto reads:

We are catholic – That’s small “c” catholic, not big “C” Catholic. We treasure bacon in all of its forms, in every preparation. Sure, we have our preferences – some like it baked and some like it fried, some like it smoked and some like it cured; some like it sweet and some like it salty. But we reject nothing at first blush. We believe that the power of bacon is its universality, its capacity to enhance almost any flavor it comes into contact with.

We also wish to celebrate what we consider special achievement in the Bacon Arts.  Our Golden Rasher awards serve that purpose.  This year we awarded 5 Golden Rashers.

Golden Rasher copyright Daniel Zemans / Serious Eats

Golden Rasher copyright Daniel Zemans / Serious Eats

1. Best Bacon Video presented by the Chicago Reader:

The Chicago Reader, our exclusive media sponsor, ran a contest for best Bacon-inspired Song and Music Video.  They produced this amazing video to inspire contestants to reach for the stars:  The Chicago Reader Bacon-Noir Promo Video

The 2011 Golden Rasher Award for Best Bacon Video went to Beth Niestat for her Billy-Joel-Inspired puppet music video “Bacon Makes Everything Better”

2.  Best Bacon Poem

Out of more than 50 entries, Joel Chmara was selected by our literary panel to receive the 2011 Golden Rasher for his masterpiece “JOHNNY BACONSEED:  A POEM FOR THE HOPELESS ROMANTICS.

3. Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats Amateur Cookoff

Out of six finalists, our panel of judges selected Tyler Hall‘s Lavender Vanilla Caramel Candied Bacon Cheesecake to receive the Golden Rasher for Nueske’s Amateur Cookoff Champion.

4. & 5. Most Creative Use of Bacon & Best Bacon Dish

Our panel of four judges (Louisa Chu of, the Reader’s Mike Sula,  the Sun Times‘ David Hammond, and Tanya Nueske of Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Meats) loved many dishes of the 56 they sampled.  They singled out eight restaurants for special achievement from a very crowded field. We made them choose two to win Golden Rashers.

Here are the six finalists:

Cafe Spiaggia: Sarah Grueneberg & Aaron Diener
Aleppo pepper cured pancetta with Vandenboom Farm egg, Tuscan kale and warm onion vinaigrette

Big Jones: Paul Fehribach
Bacon & Foie gras Moon Pie

Inovasi: John des Rosiers

Becker Lane Belly: quick cure and confit with Anson Mills grits, blue Mediterraneo cheese, and verjus-pickled cauliflower

Atwood Cafe: Derek Simcik
Cherrywood smoked bacon and black currant fruit roll-ups; bacon “cannoli” filled with maple and bacon marscapone

Girl & the Goat: Stephanie Izard
Bacon & Rogue River smokey blue cheese soup

Signature Room on the 95th: Patrick Sheerin, Jr.
Bacon-stuffed bacon, maple egg jam, whipped pancakes

These are the chefs that received the two Golden Rasher awards:

James Toland from the Black Sheep won the Golden Rasher for Most Creative Use of Bacon for Banana panna cotta, cherry wood smoked bacon brittle, and peanut butter froth with a lady finger spoon.

Nathan Sears from Vie won the Golden Rasher for Best Bacon Dish for his Roast Pork Belly with Meyer lemon marmalade, buttermilk biscuit and pinenut aillade.

Pics coming soon!