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And for the Next Dish…

With the proliferation of celebrity chefs and colossally hyped restaurants, modern diners have a lot on their plates. Here, we talk to a top toque on the verge of second-chance stardom, learn what Parisians like to have for dessert, and generally find out what's on the menu in 2013.

Whole smoked suckling pig at Cask & Larder in Winter Park, Fla.

Whole smoked suckling pig at Cask & Larder in Winter Park, Fla.

WHOLE FOODS
The large-format feast means you can eat, like, an animal

One could argue that America’s current obsession with the pre-ordered pig roast is a direct outgrowth of the tradition of feast-centric social functions. Happily, chefs are increasingly eager to oblige with the cooking, offering group-targeted meals that feature massive meat cuts and sometimes entire animals.

New York chef David Chang’s Momofuku empire has long been ground zero for the large-format trend, thanks to his legendary spreads: beef seven ways, fried chicken, Korean pork shoulder. At Belly Wine Bar in Cambridge, Mass., groups of four to 12 can tackle the “Sardinian Lamb Feast” of roasted necks with salsa verde, sticky glazed short ribs and an entire wood-fired leg with citrus and thyme. The “Whole Cookery Feast” menu at Cask & Larder in Winter Park, Fla., includes banquets of smoked duck, rib-eye and a “Butcher’s Feast” spread (porchetta, sausages, smoked ham) for parties of eight-plus.

“There’s something special about the shared, convivial experience of a whole-animal dinner,” says chef Chris Cosen-tino of San Francisco’s Incanto, whose “Leg of Beast” dining extravaganza currently stars an entire braised beef shank and all the trimmings. “It’s like Thanksgiving but without the family drama—and with better meat.” —JOLYON HELTERMAN

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