Austin Lamb Jam 2015

February 22nd, 2015 marked the inaugeral Austin Lamb Jam. The event took place at the gorgeous grounds of Barr Mansion. 16 local area restaurant chefs participated in the exciting competition for best lamb dish. Each chef was given a theme/category and specific cut of lamb to develop a culinary masterpiece to woo both attendees and judges. At each station the chefs exquisitely explained their dish and welcomed questions and feedback. The interactive evening included live butcher demos, a lamb themed photo booth and make your own lamb rubs. Libations were provided by Saint Arnold Brewing, Circle Brewing, Hops and Grains, Paula\’s Texas Spirits, Ole Smokey Moonshine, Austin Winery and Duchman Family Winery.

The judges conducted a blind tasting and participants were awarded in five categories. Jacoby\’s Restaurant and Mercantile won both in the \”Best Middle Eastern\” category and \”Best in Show\” for their charred lamb meatball with chickpeas, house made yogurt and lemon preserve.  Chef Bryce Gilmore of Odd Duck won in the \”Best Mediterranean\” category with his Mexiterranean lamb breakfast tacos. \”Best Latin American\” dish went to Reina Morris and James Watson of Buenos Aires Cafe for their Patagonia Style Lamb.  Chef Harold Marmulstein of Salty Sow won the crowd over with his lamb curry dish and took home the \”Peoples Choice Award\”. 

Chef Ysaguirre of Jacoby\’s will be moving on to the final round in New York City where he will compete with three chefs for the coveted title \”Lamb Jam Master\”. Congratulations to the Austin Lamb Board, participating sponsors, chefs and all involved on a hugely successful event. 

Bess Bistro – Lamb Rillette

Bess Bistro, Roman Murphy 
Chef Roman made one of my favorite dishes of the evening. He made a lovely lamb rillette with fermented chili and lamb caramel complimented by a carrot kimchi puree topped with sesame seeds served with a super addicting rice crisp. 

Blackbird and Henry – Braised Shoulder Stuffed Squid

Blackbird and Henry, Chef Mark Schmidt 
Chef Mark prepared a braised lamb shoulder stuffed squid with roasted eggplant and ras el hanout. I loved the texture lent by the squid. 

Korean BBQ Style Sparerib with Pear Butter

Bonneville, Chris Hurley 
Chef Hurley works with lamb often as the restaurant typically have 2-3 lamb dishes on their dinner menu. They made a perfect Korean BBQ style sparerib with a touch of pear butter. 

Fork and Vine – Smoked Lamb with Aji Amarillo, Sopa de Plantain and Mole

 Fork and Vine, Chef Camden Stuerzenberger
Chef Camden made a smoked lamb with aji amarillo, sopa de plantain, mole, pickled grape and chili.

Jack Allen\’s Kitchen – Lamb Neck Meatballs

Jack Allen\’s Kitchen – Lamb Neck Meatball with Swizzle Stick

Jack Allen\’s Kitchen, Chef Jack Gilmore 
I knew walking up to Jack Gilmore\’s station my belly and taste buds would be happy. He prepared an incredibly tender meatball made with lamb neck, pierced by a delicious crunchy swizzle stick in a wonderful Nopales jam.

Jacoby\’s – Charred Lamb Meatball with Chickpeas and House Made Yogurt

Jacoby\’s Restaurant and Mercantile, Chef Carlos Ysaguirre 
Chef Carols made an nice firm charred lamb meatball with chickpeas, drizzled with house made yogurt and the preserved lemon which added a nice flavor note to the dish.

Kerbey Lane Cafe – Kufteh in Tomato-Plum Sauce with Manaqui Bil-Zatar

Kerbey Lane Cafe, Chef Joel Welch
Chef Joel stepped outside the box with his flavorful kufteh (herb and lamb meatballs) in tomato-plum sauce with manaqui bil-zatar (thyme bread).

Moonshine – Rib and Belly of IO Ranch Lamb

 Moonshine, Chef Danny Kievit
Chef Kievit bellied up with this dish! He prepared a rib and belly of IO Ranch lamb, Mole negro Oaxaqueno, almohada masa, carrot escabeche, chicharron with queso idiazabal. The lamb was tender and the dish had a hint of sweetness.

Odd Duck – Mexterranean Taco

Odd Duck/Barley Swine, Chef Bryce Gilmore 
 Bryce won \”Best Mediterranean\” dish with his \”Mexiterranean\” lamb breakfast taco. The lamb was a rich sausage with a brightly flavored sauce. Bonus points for being the easy dish to eat.

Proof and Pantry – Lamb Pho

Proof and Pantry – Lamb Pho
Proof and Pantry – Lamb Pho

Proof and Pantry, Chef Kyle McClelland 
Proof and Pantry put on quite a show! They used a traditional Japanese grill in making his aromatic and warm your bones lamb belly pho. 

Salty Sow – Indian Lamb Curry

Salty Sow, Chef Harold Marmulstein 
I overheard several guests raving about Chef Harold\’s savory Indian lamb Curry with jasmine rice and cucumber riata. Chef Harold won the crowd over and took home the \”People\’s Choice\” award.

Vince Young Steakhouse – Feast From the Middle East

Vince Young Steakhouse, Chef Phillip Brown 
Chef Brown brought savory to the competition! His feast from the Middle East was a stewed lamb topped with light sauce. The lamb was extremely tender and well prepared. 

Vox Table – Glazed Lamb Shank with Piquillo Pepper, Roasted Shallot and Picholine Olives

Vox Table, Chef Joe Anguiano 
Chef Joe\’s glazed lamb shank with piquillo pepper, roasted shallot and picholine olives was a great preview of what is in store when the restaurant officially opens in a couple of weeks.

The full list of participating restaurants and chefs:

Bess Bistro – Chef Roman Murphy
Blackbird and Henry – Chef Mark Schmidt 
Bonneville – Chef Chris Hurley
Buenos Aires Cafe – Chef Watson and Chef Morris
Fork and Vine – Chef Camden Stuerzenberger 
Jack Allen\’s Kithen – Chef Jack Gilmore
Jacoby\’s Restaurant and Mercantile – Chef Carlos Ysaguirre 
Kerbey Lane Cafe – Chef Joel Welch
Moonshine – Chef Kievet
Odd Duck/Barley Swine – Bryce Gilmore
Olive and June – Chef Jon Cirkiel
Peche – Chef John Litchenberger
Proof and Pantry – Chef Kyle McClelland 
Salty Sow – Chef Harold Marmulstein
Vince Young Steakhouse – Chef Phillip Brown 
Vox Table – Chef Joe Anguiano

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