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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Western PA Lamb Cook-Off 2019


Lamb Fest has grown massive within such a short span of time! From humble beginnings the Western PA Lamb Cook-Off is now an all out lamb extravaganza. By my count there were over 20 different lamb dishes you could sample. Unlike in previous years, vendors were extremely well stocked and there was no rush to try and get to all 10 stations. Guest chefs included:

Jennifer Girasole (Girasole), Jessica Lewis (Spirits & Tales), Kristin Butterworth (Lautrec), Julio Peraza (Floor 2 at Fairmont Pittsburgh), Will Randall (Meat & Potatoes), Justin Steel (Bar Marco), Chris O'Brien (Scratch Food & Beverage), Brian Hammond (Siempre Algo), Curtis Gamble (Station), Jon Sterrett (Senti), Derek Burnell (Round Corner Cantina and Umami Pgh), Roger Li (Umami Pghand Ki Ramen Pgh), Dan Kern (1201 Kitchen, Bird and Noosa in Erie), Lily Tran (Soba), Sam DiBattista (Vivo Restaurant). Dom Branduzzi (Piccolo Forno and Grapperia), Justin Severino (Morcilla), Michele Savoia (Dish Osteria and Bar), Anthony Falcon (Gaucho Parrilla Argentina) and Nate Hobart (Morcilla). For more on the participants see PRNewswire.

I have to say that I was slightly disappointed by the judges. Usually I think the professionals get it right, but based on my tastes I just have to disagree. I've posted the top three winners below. By and large the judges tended to favor the chefs who made tacos.

In particular I thought that Team 7 was overrated this year and I'm saddened that they are now the three time champions. I just could not get on board with their Lamb Robtaaki (lamb kebabs with various offal.) However, their taco was one of the better ones presented at the event.

Personally, I thought the best dish of the day was the delicate lamb dumpling presented by Team 1. It was perfectly seasoned and just did such a nice job of showcasing the delicious lamb.

This is a top notch Pittsburgh culinary event. I would highly recommend it to anyone! This years winners are posted below.

Team 7:
Roger Li Umami Pgh & Ki Ramen Pgh
Dan Kern of 1201 Kitchen Noosa North East & Bird
Derek Burnell of Round Corner Cantina & Umami Pgh
AKA The Most Hated Players took home the 1st place title for their third year in a row. This undefeated team served three different lamb dishes including
- Lamb Robatayaki
- Lamb Tacos
- Crispy Lamb

Team 5:
Chris O’Brien of Scratch Food & Beverage
Josh Ross of Con Alma
Julio Peraza of Floor 2
David Devoss of Sewickley Tavern
Took second place with Barbacoa Lamb Tacos

Team 8:
Kristen Butterworth
Patrick Duffy
Kareen Brown
Kylie Zaccagni
Team Nemacolin Woodlands Resort come in 3rd with their
Braised Lamb Leg Tacos and their adorable Lamb Fat, Sugar Cookies


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