After watching two of our finest chefs get beaten on Iron Chef America, I can only conclude that this show is hopelessly rigged. I mean seriously. Sean Brock had pork fat as his secret ingredient, made powdered pork fat, and simply wowed judge Joshua Applestone with his beautiful dishes — and he was robbed of the win. Robbed, I say.

Brock, of McCrady’s and Husk, traveled to New York last year to face down Michael Symon, and he’s been studiously keeping his secret ingredient secret ever since. On Sunday night, he hosted a viewing party at The Griffon pub and had a big-ass grin on his face most of the night. The crowd cheered, heckled, and booed their way through the hour-long program as Brock and his sous chefs — Travis Grimes and Tim Moody — wowed everyone with their creativity, making dishes like halibut wrapped in caul fat, pork skin noodles with lard-poached egg, hamachi with lardo vinaigrette, tuna mortadella with pistachio puree, and funnel cake with powdered pork fat.

Applestone said it best when he told Brock: “You’re a genius.” That he is, and despite losing to Symon, Brock was good-natured about his loss, even though you could tell his competitive feathers were ruffled. In the end, pork fat rules and so does Sean Brock.

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