Pastry Chef Craig Williams, Post 390, Boston, MA
Dish: The Salty Pig Pizza from The Salty Pig, Boston, MA
“It’s genius what they do with that pizza,” says Williams, whose inaugural 2014 Doughnut Throwdown might also qualify him as a genius (seriously, do that again). “The charcuterie at the Pig alone is worth going for. Then they take the scrap parts and random parts and put it on an amazing pizza. They figured out a way to make the scraps a star.”
Chef Jamie Leeds, Hank's Oyster Bar, Washington DC and Alexandria, VA
Dish: Uni with quail egg and wasabi from Isakaya Seki, Washington DC
Leeds was once sent by Danny Meyer to train in someplace called “Grenade Sur L’Adour,” but for her pick she’s staying right in DC, at the Izakaya where co-owner Hiroshi Seki states his position as “Owner-Chef and Man Behind the Counter.” Of that Uni, she says, “I never tire of the taste of earthy ocean flavor. Creamy and sexy in the mouth, the pop of heat from the wasabi gives it another element.”
Chef Will Horowitz, Ducks Eatery, NYC
Dish: Any kind of boudin from Billy’s Boudin and Cracklin, Scott, LA
After Jazz Fest, the “Brisket King of NYC” heads to the Atchafalaya Bayou to “trap crawfish, shoot gators, book our mythical band The Easy Keys for gigs in the most no-name dive bars you could ever imagine”, and feast in Billy’s parking lot (they have no tables). If he could, he’d Bubba Blue all their boudin every day -- “smoked boudin, blood boudin, boudin balls, even some boudin egg rolls & Cracklin if you have nothing to lose” -- but he wouldn’t eat the casing, because nobody eats the casing.
Chef Daniel Ontiveros, Comme Ca, Las Vegas
Dish: Kalbi Ribs from Soyo, Las Vegas
“The sweet and salty kalbi marinade has an in-your-face garlicky flavor that will leave you with garlic breath and burps long after you eat it,” says the man in charge of pre-shenanigans fine dining at the Cosmopolitan. Sometimes what happens in Vegas is still detectable to your aisle-mates on the airplane leaving Vegas.