On Friday, I hightailed it up to Sonoma County for Pigs & Pinot, an annual event held by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to benefit Share Our Strength and the Healdsburg School. A Taste of Pigs & Pinot brought hundreds of guests to the Hotel Healdsburg, all of whom were prepared to sip some serious Pinot Noir in between heavenly bites of pork. A dizzying array of pork dishes, stellar Burgundies and Pinots, and a star-studded chef lineup easily made Charlie Palmer's charity event the party of the season. Feast your eyes on the food that was served when you keep reading.
The semifinalists were announced for the following restaurant and chef categories: outstanding restaurateur, outstanding chef, outstanding restaurant, outstanding service, best new restaurant, rising star chef of the year, outstanding pastry chef, outstanding wine service, outstanding wine and spirits professional, and best chef for the following regions: Pacific, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Great Lakes, New York City, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and South.
To find out which big names made headlines, read more.
Replacing the Top Chef finalist will be Jim Burke, executive chef at James in Philadelphia. Reasons as of right now are unclear, although Bocuse d'Or expert Andrew Friedman brings up the likely possibility that, with all his recent fame, Gillespie doesn't have the time — and motivation — to train for the event. Somehow, I'm not surprised and always questioned whether his straightforward, rustic approach would jive with the other competition platters.
Are you sad to hear that Kevin no longer has a shot at winning the Bocuse d'Or?
Photo courtesy of Bravo
The first, Top Chef season five, was shot in New York City and featured the infamous relationships of Leah and Hosea — and Stefan and Fabio. The following season, which just ended and was filmed in Las Vegas, was the first time we saw brothers compete.
The voting was across the board with fan favorite Kevin Gillespie taking the majority at 37 percent. We agree with you readers: Kevin is a lovable inspiration, and I'm dying to eat one of his pork masterpieces. We look forward to seeing what's next for Kevin!
Photo courtesy of Bravo
The 12 semifinalists will square off on Feb. 6, 2010, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, for a highly coveted position on the US team. The winners will then compete at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, in 2011.
I find it puzzling that, although the competition drew only 17 applicants, the number of candidates seems to have nearly doubled since last year. Still, I'm excited to see how everything pans out. Although I wonder whether Kevin's straightforward, rustic cooking will be too simple for the culinary Olympics, I still hope he goes all the way.
To find out who the other 11 competitors are, read more.