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Eater Young Guns Class of 2015 Celebrated in Los Angeles

Soju bombs, grilled cheese sandwiches, and corned beef galore .

Monday night at the Viceroy Santa Monica, team Eater and the LA food world came together to celebrate the 2015 class of Eater Young Guns. From the class, Tyler Bienvenu, Joel Stocks, Sara Hauman, Deuki Hong, Colin Stringer and Andon Whitehorn, and Ryan Rogers cooked at the event, serving everything from Hong's kimchi fried rice to oysters with Hawaiian shaved potlikker from Rogers. The chefs were joined by fellow Young Guns Alicia Kemper, Rachel DelRocco, Angela Dimayuga, Lisa Ludwinski, Micah Melton, Annie Rupani, Sebastian Dumonet, Rebecca Merhej, Alex Levin, and Cappie Peete. For more on this year's winners and why they were selected, head this way.

Keep reading for family portraits, a literal iron chef, and so much soju — but first, a special thanks to our sponsors: Sapporo, Deep Eddy Vodka, West Coast Prime Meats, and our charity partner (RED). Thanks also to photographer Wonho Frank Lee and DJ Lindsay Luv.

And now, some hangover observations.

  • On the menu for the night from the Young Guns: Sara Hauman's corned beef tongue with bread and butter pickles, okura with negi and bonito from Colin Stringer and Andon Whitehorn, cornbread madeleines with parmesan, lardo, and honeycomb from Joel Stocks, Deuki Hong's smoked kimchi fried rice with bacon, soft egg, and kimchi butter, oysters on the half shell with Hawaiian shaved potlikker and hickory smoked salt from Ryan Rogers, Tyler Bienvenu's meat board — smoked brisket, pork shoulder, andouille sausage, white bread, Carolina sauce, and pickles — as well as his grilled pimento cheese sandwich with country pate and wildflower honey.
  • Additionally, Young Gun Rachel DelRocco provided a cocktail recipe for the event and the EYG winner from Houston, Annie Rupani, served her chocolates. Viceroy's Adrian Padilla was also on site offering roasted pork belly with romesco, ramps, radishes, and smoked potatoes.
  • Deuki Hong and his Kang Ho Dong Baekjong team from New York encouraged group bonding with their constant lineups of soju bombs. Hong was also walking around spoon-feeding his kimchi rice to guests toward the end of the night.
  • Sweet news: At least three Young Guns brought their parents to the party. Other notable attendees included past Young Gun and Top Chef winner Mei Lin as well as Night + Market owner Kris Yenbamroong.
  • Special shoutout to the Nani team for hurdling over stanchions to fry their okra in the restaurant kitchen. Champions.
  • The team from new food Nashville hot chicken truck Howlin' Rays was on hand, gushing that the heir to the Prince's brand (arguably Nashville's preeminent hot chicken name) had just eaten at the truck days before, and overwhelmingly approved.
  • Nobody fell into the pool at the event, but rumors surfaced about a few chefs having one too many glasses of rose and getting a little "wobbly" near the deep end.
  • The crew from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami (where Young Gun Tyler Bienvenu is sous chef) had the evening's standouts, not only working up plates of brisket, pulled pork, and sausages — they also spent the night getting Instagram famous thanks to a unique set up where they grilled pimento cheese sandwiches between working clothing irons (yes, the same ones you probably have at home in your linen closet). The longest lines of the night were definitely here.

    Also of note: Bienvenu's mom told us that the first time he made a grilled cheese this way, he never cleaned off her clothes iron.
  • "Don't ask what it is, just eat it." — a guy giving his friends a plate of Sara Hauman's corned beef tongue. They liked it.
  • After the party is the after party. Teams from Eater, Vox Media, and the Young Guns themselves proceeded to take over nearby dive bar Chez Jay, packing the room and drinking so much bottled beer that the bar ran out by 11:30 p.m.
  • Spotted around midnight, two friends of a certain Young Gun searching for him in the hotel lobby.
  • For the after after party, a cadre of writers and Young Guns departed for Koreatown's Dan Sung Sa, a smoky, gritty, soju and cheese corn kind of place once popularized by Anthony Bourdain.

— Farley Elliott, Ellen Fort, Matthew Kang, and Amanda Kludt contributed to this piece