golden rasher squareEvery year at Baconfest, a panel of bacon celebrity judges agonize over the most important bacon decisions in the nation – which chefs will take home the coveted Golden Rasher award for Most Creative Use of Bacon?  Luminaries with quotation-mark enclosed nicknames like “Hot” Doug Sohn, Ina “Breakfast Queen” Pinkney,  Peter “Peter” Sagal and Anthony “Spice” Adams, have grappled with their taste buds, stomach capacity and one another, to come to consensus about which chef deserves the highest honor that Baconfest Chicago can confer.  The award itself, named after a gilded slice of bacon, may be modest in size, as its worldly form takes the shape of a three-inch tall pewter pig trophy, but in the minds of Chicago’s pork-oriented chefs, it looms large, carrying with it bragging rights for a full year and a permanent spot in the annals of bacon history.

With the tenth annual Baconfest Chicago just around the corner, we’ve been taking a trip down memory lane, remembering the winners of the nine Baconfests gone by.  If you, like us, enjoy ruminating on delicious bacon you’ve eaten before, then this post is for you, a recap of all the Golden Rasher winning chefs who took home the prize for Most Creative Use of Bacon.

If you want to see who wins the award in 2018, we have good news – you can!  Buy tickets to the Tenth Annual Baconfest Chicago (April 6 & 7, UIC Forum) and witness bacon history in the making.

Here are the celebrated dishes of days gone by, which shall live on for eternity in the great Bacon Pantheon.


2009 – The Baconfest Chicago VIP Pro Cookoff (Recap)

Judges Choice: Chris Pandel, The Bristol
“Breakfast Braciole” – house cured alderwood-smoked bacon, with house made maple-sage breakfast sausage, braised greens, and hard-boiled egg.  Braised, sliced and served with maple scented juices.

(Image: Ron Kaplan)

Peoples Choice: Troy Graves, Eve
Pumpkin-bacon-waffle with pomegranate-glazed pork belly, infused with maple syrup and bacon

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2010 – The 2nd Annual Baconfest Chicago (Recap)

Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Roger Herring, Socca
Triple bacon veal meatballs and asparagus with a lemon thyme bacon sugo


Best Tasting Bacon Dish Period: Jared Wentworth, Longman & Eagle
Bacon Waffle with brown sugar bacon ice cream – garnished with candied dehydrated bacon

Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Pat Sheerin, The Signature Room
Bacon in the style of Pastrami, kimchee coleslaw and crispy rye

Best Tasting Bacon Dish Period: Chris Lateano, South Water Kitchen
Bacon Rillettes, coddled egg dressing, pickled ramps and bacon fat griddled brioche croutons


2011 – The 3rd Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

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

Best Bacon Dish: Nathan Sears, Vie
Roast Pork Belly with Meyer lemon marmalade, buttermilk biscuit and pinenut aillade


2012 – The 4th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Monica Sehgal Sharma, Red Butter
Bacon-chile gulab jamun topped with bacon-pistachio brittle

Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Matt Troost, Three Aces
Shake ‘n Bake: Bacon “Steak” ‘n Bacon Shake: A bacon “shake ‘n bake” with our own special blend, with bacon bolognese and avanilla-bacon-bourbon milkshake

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2013 – The 5th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Joseph Rose, Lockwood at the Palmer House
Slow poached egg with bacon ragout, bacon dashi, nori

Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Matt Troost, Three Aces
The “Wake n’Bacon” – bacon scrapple with bacon sriracha, bacon-salt cured egg yolks, and a bacon-Malort Julius


2014 – The 6th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Friday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: James O’Donnell, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse
Caramelized Bacon with Clams Casino Broth – Calabrian chiles and bacon fat bread crumbs

Saturday Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Charlie McKenna, Lillie’s Q
Bacon Float

Saturday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Kristine Antonian and Eric Mansavage, Farmhouse
“Pigs in Mud” – chocolate bacon custard, crispy bacon soil, gummy pigs


2015 – The 7th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Friday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Pat Sheerin, Trenchermen
Bacon “Fried Rice”, Bacon Fat Hoisin, Bacon XO & Peanuts – cherrywood bacon, forbidden black rice, berkshire bacon, house made bacon fat hoisin sauce, bacon XO, toasted peanuts, charred scallions, lime, ginger, garlic, chiles, LOVE, LOTS OF LOVE, cilantro, egg

Saturday Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Takashi Yagihashi, Slurping Turtle
Bacon Chiyawanmushi – shiitake mushrooms, gingko nuts, bacon-dashi glaze and wasabi

Saturday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Dan Compton, Vie
Bacon Slim Jim, Fully Loaded Potato Bacon Soup


2016 – The 8th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Saturday Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon: Christine Cikowski & Josh Kulp, Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Bacon Chicken and Grits

Saturday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon – Cameron Grant, Osteria Langhe
Bacon Plin with smoky dijon serrano jus

Sunday Brunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon – Evan Behmer, Mercat a la Planxa
Arroz de Iberico Pancetta - smoked Calasparra rige, Iberico bacon, cage-free egss, and Iberico bacon aioli


2017 – The 9th Annual Baconfest Chicago (recap)

Friday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon – Stephanie Galvin and Jordan Spritz, Jordan’s Food of Distinction
Lobster Pork Cappuccino

 

Saturday Lunch:
Most Creative Use of Bacon – Josh Kulp & Christine Cikowski, Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Loaded Mash – with fried chicken chunks and bacon buffalo sauce

Saturday Dinner:
Most Creative Use of Bacon – Pat Niebling, Three Floyds Brewpub
Empanada with Confit Bacon & XO Sauce

 

  • January 15, 2018