I have attended my fair share of tasting events, and none have been as enjoyable and tasty as Lamb Jam 2019 earlier this month. I typically find myself frustrated at the long lines and limited tickets, wishing I would have spent my money on a nice, full meal, rather than fighting with the crowds for a bite of a sample.
However, Lamb Jam was a great example of how enjoyable these types of events can be when done right. From the light-filled space at the Seattle Design Center, to the one-on-one interactions with chefs and the outstanding dishes, Lamb Jam showed me that this is an annual event to look forward to.
It was fun getting to try a meat that I don’t typically eat, cooked in so many different styles. The event featured dishes from 15 chefs in four categories: Asian, Latin, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean. Guests were given a voting token to vote for “People’s Choice,” and each category had a winner as well as a best overall winner.
Ultimately, Chef Heong Park of Chan took home Best in Show and Best Latin with his Lamb Belly Tacos with pistachio mole and smoked chili aioli. I had never had lamb belly before this event, but let me tell you—it is delicious!
My personal vote, and the winner of the People’s Choice Award, went to Chef Mitch Mayer of Sawyer for his Queso Fundido with lamb chorizo, lamb fat “mexi fries,” guajillo corn nuts, ramp salsa verde, pickled onions, and cilantro.
Chef Ashish Bagul of Nirmal’s won Best Asian for his Tabak Maaz, Kashmiri Fried Lamb Ribs flavored with fennel. Best Mediterranean went to Chef Tori Mann of Lola for her Lamb Shank Awarma with spicy green tahini and fresh pita. Finally, Chef Justin Lee of Vista Prime Steaks & Seafood took home Best Middle Eastern for his Karak Lamb Shank with chickpea fritter, pistachio rugag, green garbanzo avocado hummus, laban, basmati, black lemon, and sumac.
The Lamb Jam Tour is back on the road with stops coming up in Boston (June 23), San Francisco (July 21), and Denver (August 25) with winners of each locale going on to compete in the Lamb Jam Finale for the ultimate title: Lamb Jam Master.
We’re already looking forward to the 2020 Seattle Lamb Jam!