It was Chicago's first festival devoted to the
unholy amazing combination of cheese curds, french fries and gravy. Many of Chicago's top restaurants (in the gooey fried comforty stuff department, at least) participated in the contest at Haymarket Pub & Brewery, dishing up the goods to a sold-out crowd. But in the end all your PQMs and Phillip Fosses and Ryan Polis and Red Doors, good as their offerings were, were forced to acknowledge that a Poutine King had been crowned: The Gage's poutine— with braised wild boar, Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds, smoked mirepoix, and pickled red onion, garnished with chives— topped them all in the judgement of both the judges and the crowd. Our man Huge Galdones was there not merely as a photographer, but as the one actual Montrealer among the judges, and here's his report from the frontlines in pictures and captions. Strap on your seatbelts and get ready for fried cheese and gravy.