Gracie’s Chef Matthew Varga Wins at 2015 Boston Lamb Jam, Chef Tiffani Faison Takes Best in Show

by David Dadekian
Team Gracie's wins the Middle Eastern category trophy at the Boston Lamb Jam

Team Gracie’s wins the Middle Eastern category trophy at the Boston Lamb Jam

The American Lamb Board held their sixth annual Boston Lamb Jam at the Royal Sonesta Boston tonight. Chef Matthew Varga of Gracie’s in Providence, Rhode Island won the trophy in the Middle Eastern category for his Lamb Shoulder Confit with Za’atar, Muhammara and Lebne. Chef Varga used lamb from Hopkins Southdowns farm in North Scituate, RI.

Boston’s Chef Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks Q won the Asian category and took home Best in Show with her Spicy Chengdu Lamb dish. Faison will go on to compete in the National Lamb Jam in New York against the winners of other Lamb Jam competitions being held around the country. The winner of the Latin category was Chef Thomas Borgia of Russell House Tavern with Tamarind Braised Lamb Shank Empanadas with Plantain, Huitlacoche and Mole Ketchup. The winner of the Mediterranean category was Niko Regas of Emilitsa with Baby Back Lamb Ribs Slow Braised with Coriander-Citrus Honey Glaze with Herb Roasted New Potatoes, Garlic, Capers, Preserved Lemon and Spiced Olives.

Chef Matthew Varga's Lamb Shoulder Confit with Za'atar, Muhammara and Lebne

Chef Matthew Varga’s Lamb Shoulder Confit with Za’atar, Muhammara and Lebne

Two other Rhode Island chefs competed in Boston. The Salted Slate‘s Chef Benjamin Lloyd prepared a Slow Cooked Shoulder Steamed Bun with Chinese-Style Lamb Sausage and Smoked Vegetables. Cook & Brown Public House‘s Chef Nemo Bolin, winner of last year’s Boston and National Lamb Jams, prepared a Banh Mi Flatbread.

There were twenty-four chefs and restaurants represented at the event, each preparing a dish using American lamb in one of four categories: Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin and Mediterranean. This writer was one of the judges for the event. All judging was done blind—we didn’t know which chef made which dish until judging was complete and the scores were tallied. Congratulations to all the winners.

Chef Tiffani Faison's Spicy Chengdu Lamb

Chef Tiffani Faison’s Spicy Chengdu Lamb

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