Celebrity Pig Head Eating
It's taken me 24-plus hours to recover from the Fergus Henderson-at-the-Spotted-Pig bacchanalia on Wednesday night, but at least I learned a few things. The event featured England's nose-to-tail hero Henderson of St. John restaurant as chef de cuisine with the Pig's April Bloomfield as his sous-chef (at least that's what the menu said; Henderson claimed he was "just an observer"). Whatever the reality, they put together a menu that was part Spotted Pig's greatest hits—chix liver toast; those gnudi; that burger—and part offal extravaganza, including deep-fried tripe, ducks’ hearts on lettuce leaves and most importantly, pot-roast half pig's head. I couldn't possibly recap the event better than Eater did, but here are my observations.
* That Pig co-owner Ken Friedman is the world's best host.
* That Top Chef's Season Three winner Hung Huynh is much sweeter than the series might lead you to believe.
* That Top Chef's Season Two winner Ilan Hall has a project up his sleeve that we'll all hear about soon.
* That Bette Midler is not afraid to grab a photographer's digital camera and erase unflattering pictures of herself.
* That April Bloomfield knows how to perfectly pot-roast pigs' heads.
* That no matter how good it is, there's no graceful way to eat a roasted pig's head when Heath Ledger is sitting at the next table watching.
* That Heath Ledger will politely decline when you offer him some pig's head, in an attempt to cover up your embarrassment.
* That Vogue's Jeffrey Steingarten and Grub Street's Josh Ozersky are experts at disassembling pigs' heads (perhaps because of the knife-skills tutorial that Ozersky just got from Hung?).
* That the younger girls in the room will tell you the reason Eater is so successful is because co-founder Ben Leventhal (who's been called a Paul Rudd twin) "is so good-looking."
* That the phrase "Alice Waters is in the building" gets the attention of a room full of foodies.
* That when the Spotted Pig staff is depressed, Paul McGuinness (who, besides being U2's manager, was also the nicest guy at the party) takes the team uptown to Masa for sushi and sake.
* That NYC chefs David Chang (Momofuku), Mark Ladner (Del Posto), Anne Burrell (Centro Vinoteca) and Wylie Dufresne (wd 50) can party a lot later than I can.