(Video) Celebrate International Bacon Day! Exclusive Interview with Top Chef Finalist, Kevin Gillespie

BlogHer Original Post
I recently had the chance to interview Top Chef Season 6 finalist, Kevin Gillespie. On the show, he was known for his dedication to the craft of cooking and lack of dramatics, which also won him the title of “Fan Favorite.” As a food blogger and personal fan of Kevin’s, I was delighted to chat with him and was glad to find out that he was as friendly and personable as I’d hoped.

He’s currently working with the Purina Beggin' Bacon Bash to celebrate International Bacon Day on September 4th. Kevin has made it publicly known that his favorite ingredient to cook with is pork, so it’s the perfect fit. He was also kind enough to share with us a couple of simple recipes for those of us who share his love of pork.

I spent a lovely 10 minutes talking to him about his various new projects, whether or not he’s watching the current season of Top Chef, and what sort of comfort foods he turns to when he’s had a hard day (apparently, we share a love of fried pickles).

He was also nice enough to share with me a story that involved the other two Season 6 finalists, Michael and Bryan, that never made it to air. It’s a hoot!



Spicy bacon popcorn


1/3 cup organic popping corn
3 T + 12g melted bacon fat
2 tsp espelette pepper
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp popcorn salt
¼ C finely grated parmesan
8g tapioca maltodextrin

Place three tablespoons of bacon fat in bottom of popcorn machine. Add popping corn and allow machine to run until the popping slows. Remove from the machine and toss in a mixing bowl with espelette, black pepper, salt, and parmesan. Mix remaining bacon fat with tapioca maltodextrin. Sprinkle bacon powder over popcorn and serve.

Bacon Whoopie pies


Ingredients:
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup turbinado sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup molasses
2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp kosher salt

Bacon Buttercream Filling
12 egg whites
1 Tbsp salt
3 cup dark brown sugar
36 oz. butter
½ cup rendered bacon fat

Combine together butter, granulated, and brown sugar and whisk on high speed in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, molasses, and oil and whisk to combine. Add in flour and all dry spices and salt and allow to mix until just combined. Roll cookie dough into a cylinder in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Slice cookies into ¼ inch disks and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 400 degrees until the edges are set, and the center is still soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before using.

For the buttercream, place the sugar and enough water to dissolve it in a heavy bottom saucepot. Bring to a boil and cook to 236 degrees Fahrenheit. While the sugar is cooking place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Begin whisking the whites on high speed once the sugar reaches the desired temperature. Remove the sugar from the heat and begin pouring it into the mixer in a thin stream slowly. Allow the mixture to whisk until the bowl cools to room temperature. Once cool add in butter and bacon fat and whisk on high until the mixture is light and fluffy. Fill reserved cookie sandwiches with icing.

Will you be trying one of these recipes for International Bacon Day? Or do you have a bacon recipe to share?

~~Elaine

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