Tiffani Faison (chef/owner of Sweet Cheeks and the forthcoming Tiger Mama, both in the Fenway neighborhood) has snagged the 2015 national "Lamb Jam Master" title. The Lamb Jam is an annual competition put on by the American Lamb Board, pitting chefs against each other in several different cities to see who can create the best dish featuring lamb. Then, the winners from each city compete against each other.
This year's finals took place at the James Beard House in New York on Monday night, and Faison beat out the semifinalists from Seattle, Austin, D.C., and San Francisco with her spicy Chengdu lamb, which included smoked and braised lamb shoulder, shumai, vinegar, and chili oil. (In addition to propelling her to the local win in Boston prior to the national finals, the dish also received Boston's "Best in Show" and "Best Asian" honors.)
"We try to create fun, craveable food. That's what this dish was about, but more elegant," Faison said via a press release, sharing the credit with her team. (Teammates Dan Raia and Mike Stark are pictured above, from left.)
Diners won't typically find lamb on Faison's menu at Sweet Cheeks — go there for Berkshire pork, brisket, giant smoked wings, and biscuits as big as your face — but maybe the meat will make an appearance at Tiger Mama when it opens down the street. As previously reported, the restaurant will be "Southeast Asian-inspired," and lamb is a common ingredient in some Southeast Asian cuisines.
Tiger Mama is meant to be "sexier" than Sweet Cheeks, featuring two bars (one of which will be a tiki bar). The new estimated opening date is early December, sneaking in just before fall ends, according to a rep for the restaurant.