What You Missed at Meatopia: Major Meat Successes and Minor Heat Strokes

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Part of Bar Basque's epic "Hampshire Hog Seven Ways." Photo: Jed Egan

"Chefs and Champagne" wasn't the only food event held in Saturday's heat. On any given day, most chefs are sweaty, blistered, and prepared to kill for a cold beer, but Saturdays Meatopia 2011, presented by Amstel Light and Whole Foods, took it to a new level with scorching heat on three football fields of unshaded concrete and over 45 carnivorous stations of fire pits and grills, at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Michael Psilakis stripped see below. Michael White swore. And the Meatball Shop guys made nonstop jokes about (what else?) sweaty, sweaty balls.

A few chefs had buyers remorse for committing to such heavy, heat-sensitive dishes, like Public and Double Crown chef Brad Farmerie, who made black-pudding waffles with (very meltable) foie gras butter and poached pears. If I knew it would be this hot, I would have done sliced cold cuts. Farmerie also told Grub that human beings are probably the only meat he'd never touch, making Daniel Holzman from the Meatball Shop look uncharacteristically prudish, I've eaten horse ... so there could be Mr. Ed Balls on the menu! But I am not, however, into bugs. Bug Balls aint showing up anytime soon

Most of our favorite chefs, like Floyd Cardoz, who made a lovely roasted kid goat with an arugula salad, stood behind their dishes. I feel terrible for my guys cooking, but for the Meatopia guests, goat is very light and perfect for hot days.

In the end, the chefs kept most complaints to themselves and put on a phenomenal show. Anthony Goncalves of 42 in White Plains, serving lamb belly, said, "[Josh] Ozersky has always been good to me, he's very critical and honest, and I'm here in the heat just to support him." MP Taverna's Michael Psikalis, who came straight from the airport in jeans, sending his agent out to buy him emergency shorts, presented a Greek lamb offal mixed grill and wasnt going to let anything get in his way of having a good time. Events like this ... and blogs like Grub Street have helped evolve food ... Could we have seen Greek food go from the ethnic genre it was sitting in ten years ago, to where it is now, if we didnt have TV, the media, and people like you to talk to? I dont think so.