Chicago chef takes top prize with duck sausage at 19th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout

Chef Jason Paskewitz of Chicago’s The Blanchard beat out a dozen other chefs to win first place in the 19th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout in Chicago last month. The event drew more than 800 restaurant, foodservice and hospitality professionals to Galleria Marchetti on May 22 to sample barbecue dishes and cocktails from participating chefs and bartenders and support World Central Kitchen, an international organization founded by chef Jose Andres to seek smart solutions to end hunger and poverty.

 Duck sausage with foie gras mustard and confit onions
Jason Paskewitz' winning dish: Duck sausage with foie gras mustard and confit onions (Nannette Bedway)

Paskewitz presented grilled duck sausage with foie gras mustard and onion confit on a brioche bun. “It’s indicative of what I do at the Blanchard. It’s a French restaurant, so I had to get some foie gras in there,” he said.

Duck may not be common barbecue fare, but this is the second year in a row that the Championship BBQ and Cookout judging panel awarded a chef for taking a risk with an unusual protein. Last year’s winner, Stephen "Smokey" Schwartz of Burnt End BBQ in Kansas, impressed the judges with a dish of rabbit.

Second place went to chef Cory Morris of Rural Society for his short rib with elote garnish and white barbecue sauce. Also a winner that evening was Unilever Food Solutions, which took home the honor of best table design. The tablescape was “fashioned after a roadside grill as a fictional customer on the company’s Burger Route,” Senior Channel Marketing Manager Jen Rosman said. “We wanted to highlight, if you were a fast casual restaurant, this is what it could look like in your restaurant.”

This year’s BBQ was held in honor of Michael Batterberry, founder of Food Arts and Food and Wine magazines. “We are proud to produce this world class event, spotlighting the tremendous culinary talent in Chicago,” said Barbara Mathias, event organizer and former publisher of Food Arts magazine. “We are equally proud to be able to bring together this community of the restaurant industry and suppliers, and to support such a worthy charity. We are looking forward to our 20th celebration next May!”

SmartBrief is the media sponsor of the Championship BBQ and Cookout.

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