A beaming chef Justin Sutherland bounced around his Lowertown restaurant The Handsome Hog last night greeting the crowd that spilled out of the slim restaurant and into the street as people queued up to watch him make his national television debut. He was sporting the same “In Diversity We Trust” hat that he wore while filming Iron Chef America. In the episode, Sutherland and his two teammates, Pearl & the Thief’s sous chef Brandon Randolph and chef Donald Gonzalez (formerly of Gray Duck) paired off against Alex Guarnaschelli.
The crowd cheered with the secret ingredient was revealed as whole lamb. Sutherland is known for his nose to tail cooking inside this restaurant and the second restaurant he just opened (under different ownership) in Stillwater, Pearl & the Thief. That restaurant also hosted a viewing party.
Sutherland filmed the episode this winter. After he received the call to appear on the show, Sutherland immediately began to practice. His Lowertown restaurant neighbor, Tim McKee allowed Sutherland, Gonzalez and Randolph to practice in secret in the kitchen of his Octo Fishbar during the day as they honed their speed and flavors as a team. That work paid off, with a menu that included lamb tartare, an African-style samosa, and a ramen with lamb liver meatballs.
Things didn’t look good for chef Guarnaschelli, who immediately wasn’t happy with her lamb skewer appetizer before it was even served.
During the last commercial break, servers at the Handsome Hog and neighboring Public, began handing out auspicious glasses of champagne. When Sutherland was crowned the winner, the hometown crowds erupted in cheers and clamored to congratulate Sutherland.
No word on what’s next for the busy chef Sutherland, except some travel and maybe a moment or two to bask in the glory of this win.