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Five Chicago Chefs to Pig Out at Cochon 555

Five Chicago Chefs to Pig Out at Cochon 555

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Heritage breed pork will be the headliner at the whole pig cookoff on April 13th

Five chefs will compete for a chance to become "King of Porc" at the Grand Cochon in Aspen.

Proper pork deserves proper respect, and Cochon 555 is coming to Chicago to show it. Now more than six years old, this traveling cooking competition seeks to promote the benefits of using heritage breed pigs. Five local chefs will compete in an epic, whole pig cookoff to earn a trip to the national Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June. The winner of that competition will be declared the “King or Queen of Porc.”

This year the event will take place at the Renaissance Blackstone in downtown Chicago. The competitors will prepare six dishes each from an entire pig and deliver them to the judges and attending pork enthusiasts for deliberation. This year’s chefs come from some of the hottest Chicago restaurants: Cory Morris of Mercat a la Planxa, Tim Graham of Travelle, Ryan McCaskey of Acadia, Giuseppe Tentori of GT Fish & Oyster, and Erik Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice.

Cochon 555 is on April 13th from 4 to 8pm. Tickets can be purchased at the Cochon 555 website.

Cochon 555 Comes to Nashville on March 1

Five talented Nashville chefs will face off at the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel on Sunday, March 1 to battle for the title of “Prince or Princess of Pork” as part of the local stop on the national Cochon555 tour. Now in its 13th year, Cochon555 aims to promote heritage breed pigs, whole-animal butchery and cooking and sustainable farming practices by bringing together talented chefs, farmers, brewers, distillers and mixologists for a day of competitive cooking.

Beginning at 5:00 on March 1 (an hour earlier with VIP ticket purchase), guests will enter Loews Vanderbilt to sample dishes created using all parts of the pig by a talented cadre of chefs. Those competing in Nashville are: Chef Julio Hernandez of Nectar: Urban Cantina, Chef Kristin Beringson of Ellington’s, Chef Joey Molteni of Hathorne, Chef Patrick Gossett of Loews Vanderbilt Hotel and Chef Trey Cioccia of Black Rabbit. Each chef will receive a heritage breed pig sustainably sourced from Southern Natural Farms, Pig & Leaf Farm, Taylor Family Farm, J Stockton Farms and Wedge Oak Farm.

Patrons will vote for their favorite dish, and a panel of esteemed judges will pick an overall winner who will win the right to travel to the Grand Cochon competition to be held later this summer. The local Cochon555 event will also showcase an educational whole-animal butchery program organizers call the “Pop-Up Butcher Shop,” where attendees can experience a demonstration by talented meat cutters. They can also take part in a charitable silent auction, featuring gifts from the chefs and sponsors which will benefit the Nashville Food Project .

Other activities that evening include a cocktail and wine competitions which attendees can also take part in as judges. There are two levels of tickets now on sale at the Cochon555 website . General admission is $125 for entry at 5:00, while VIP ticket holders pay $60 more for entrance an hour earlier for the chance to get up close with the chefs as they prepare and plate their entries plus access to two special preview plates. Double up on your Lipitor and make plans to attend Cochon555 on March 1.

This Weekend in Chicago: Cheese at Pastoral Festival and Pig at Cochon 555

The mission: prepare a menu from the a 200-pound heritage breed pig, nose-to-tail. If you’re the kind of person who gets excited by pig butchery and cooking, and you’d care to participate in selecting a winner from five local chefs, check out tickets to this year’s Cochon 555 on April 28. Don’t want to buy any tickets? Then come to the free cheese festival hosted by Pastoral at the Chicago French Market.

Chef Andrew Zimmerman will open his kitchen at Sepia to six renowned Chicago chefs to prepare a special, one-night-only epicurean feast.

Free and open to the public: Pastoral Annual Artisan Producer Festival. The only thing better than cheese is the amazing people who make it. For the third annual Festival, more than 20 artisan cheese producers from all over the nation will be at the Chicago French Market to demo their goods. The Festival also includes cheese’s favorite accompaniments: cured meats, confections, craft beers, small-batch, local liquors and wines from around the world. Want to make charcuterie at home? Come out on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. Check here for the full list of producers in attendance on Saturday. Did we say that it was FREE? Seriously, don’t miss this one.

Five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers compete. Audience and judges test and decide. The winning chef will compete against other regional winners at the final Grand Cochon event at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June.

Porkapalooza! Scenes from this Weekend's Cochon All-Stars

If one animal in the culinary world has reached celebrity status, it's the mighty pig. And there is no greater celebration of the porcine muse than Cochon 555 , a traveling snout-to-tail cooking competition in its third season. Cochon 555 arrives in 10 cities throughout the year, pairing five local chefs with five heritage pig farmers and five winemakers (hence the 5-5-5), and crowning champion of the chef who creates the best feast.

But this weekend's event was the ultimate pig out (sorry, we had to): The first-ever Cochon All-Star event. Held in Vegas's Cosmopolitan hotel, All-Star Cochon featured ten chefs from around the country--past winners of local Cochon 555 cook-offs and "fan favorites"--who set up shop in a ballroom along with four butchers and what is surely the nation's largest collection of inflatable pigs and pig statues. The roster of chefs included Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard (The Girl and The Goat), Portland's superstar of South Asian cuisine Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), and Devin Knell from Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. But the real stars of the show were the fourteen heritage pigs with breed names like Berkshire, Tamworth, and the exotic KuneKune. The entire idea behind Cochon 555 is, after all, to promote sustainable farming of heritage pigs.

Chef Andy Ricker's Sai Ua Samun Phrai with Naam Phrik Num, Crispy Garlic Cracklings (Khaep Muu), and fermented rib with fresh chilies, ginger and cabbage & Laap Muu (minced Northern Thai salad)

Walking into the ballroom felt like a visit to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, except the chocolate was replaced with pork. Hip-hop tracks played in the background and guests hurried from one booth to the next to enjoy their bounty at tables laden with bacon centerpieces. The room itself was divided into different groupings like "Far East," "Fat 101," "Swine and Sweets," and "Cured Meats." Highlights of the Far East group included Ricker's fermented pork rib dish (pictured above) and Izard's "Crispy Magnalitsa Face Bahn Mi," which took all the meat from the head of a Magnalitsa pig and turned it into a pork patty.

Four hours of gorging on pork may sound like fun in theory, but in practice, it's a little more difficult. Luckily butchers like Joshua Applestone from Fleisher's New York and LA's "Lindy & Grundy" were there to give hands-on demonstrations.

David Varley from Michael Mina served Pork EO's (Oreos made with pork fat cream)

The Swine and Sweets category held its own with pork-infused desserts,although the best dessert of the day may have come from outside of thegroup entirely: David Varley from Michael Mina served Pork EO's (Oreosmade with pork fat cream) in the Fat 101. Yeah you heard right: PorkEO's.

But perhaps the most appropriate dish, given the conceit of the event, was Chef Devin Knell's "Swiss Army Pig" -- so named because it was made with every part of the hog. While it wasn't the prettiest dish of the day, we are now able to say we've eaten "everything sausage." And of that, we are proud. -- Jason Kessler

Pork fest Cochon 555 happens Sunday in Santa Monica

Cochon 555, the culinary competition featuring five chefs, five heritage pig breeds and five winemakers, takes place Sunday at the Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica hotel.

The annual event is part of the Cochon tour that hits several cities across the country, at least partly to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. Winners of the regional Cochon 555 events compete at a Grand Cochon national finale where he or she is announced a king or queen of “porc” at an award ceremony. The Grand Cochon includes a tasting of more than 30 chef dishes, butcher demos, reserve wines, craft beer, cocktails, bourbon bars and pork-flavored sweets.

The Cochon tour also has spawned a slew of events including Cochon Heritage Fire, where whole animals (including beef, lamb, goat, rabbit and birds) are cooked over live fires Cochon Heritage B.B.Q. & National Bourbon Month All-Star Cochon, which is not to be confused with Epic Cochon and even Cochon Island, which is planned for Hawaii. All told, more than 11 tons of pork are cooked at the events.

At this year’s Cochon 555 Los Angeles, the competing chefs, who each have to prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole pig, include Ray Garcia of Fig Restaurant, Christian Page of Short Order, Jason Neve of B&B Ristorante, Ray England of Craft and Brian Howard of Comme Ça.

The crowd and a panel of judges will vote on the best dishes. This year’s judges include Lesley Balla (Zagat), Jason Kupper (the Thomas), Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Micah Wexler (Mezze), Jason Neroni (Superba Snack Bar), Jonathan Gold (L.A. Times), Johnathan Crocker (Taste of L.A.), Carrie Kommers (Table One), Jet Tila (the Charleston), Russ Parsons (L.A. Times), Matt Selman (“The Simpsons”), Maximillian Chow (Mr. Chow) and Hadley Tomicki (Urban Daddy), among others. Special guests Jet Tila (the Charleston) will prepare an additional late-night sixth pig, and Erika Nakamura and Amelia Posada of Lindy & Grundy will butcher a pig for the audience.

Tickets are on sale online a general admission ticket is $125, and a VIP ticket for early admission is $200. Part of the proceeds will benefit the American Institute of Wine & Food.

Cochon 555: Here Piggy Piggy

The full pig splayed out in the Union Station Hotel atrium should have been a preview of scenes to come. In a full-on bacchanalia not seen much in today's world of the minimalist, back to nature, veggie-centered food scene, the Cochon 555 was in your face over-the-top. Pork is, after all one of the world's most luxurious, fatty, indulgent foods. As DIY charcuterie has become the number one game in town so has our interest in thoughtfully sourced pork.

Cochon 555 is a celebration of pork. No just any pork. Heritage breed pork. Consisting of a 14-city tour in the U.S., the Cochon 555 stopped in Nashville this past weekend. This is the set up: They provide five of Nashville's best chefs with five heritage breed pigs, with the challenge to create six original dishes with as much of the pig as they can. In addition to this little porcine competition, there were countless booths boasting cheese, breads, and the ever popular Tartare Bar—definite highlight paired with the show-stopping Antica Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to the all star chefs, five incredible bartenders also took to the floor to each create a punch featuring Breckenridge Whiskey. All proceeds from ticket sales and auction went to the Piggy Bank: a charity creating safe environments for family farms to raise heritage pigs and to give access better farming practices to create a better food future.

Chefs from Bajo Sexto, Nicky’s Coal Fired, Marsh House, Treehouse and Union Station Hotel (the gorgeous host venue) presented tables and dishes of all different sizes and styles. From classic brats to Italian delicacies. From artfully crafted tacos to steaming cups of pork ramen. The variety was dizzying. Indeed, this is Nasvhille in 2017.

After we had eaten all we could muster, and drank even more, a raucous crowd of mainly the chefs and their teams gathered in the main hall to hear the final result. Cheers could be heard from each corner of the room as the emcee Levon Wallace, of the yet-to-open 21C Hotel, toasted to safe food and sustainable farming practices. The title of Punch King was awarded to Tracy Ardoin Jenkins of Nicky’s Coal Fired for her Heat of the Moment punch with a mouth-watering, compressed pear. A true balance of heat and chill, this punch was a clear stand-out winner. Taking the prize and moving on to the final competition of all 14 city winners in Chicago this coming fall, was Kaelin Ulrich Trilling of Bajo Sexto: who is cooking up a storm at his restaurant in West Nashville.

As for the full pig on display? He was victim of the skillful knife of James Peisker of Porter Road Butcher. Cuts were then packaged and sold for charity. That'll do pig, that'll do.

5 Star Female Chefs Will Kick Off Cochon 555

To kick off the pork-tastic Cochon 555 festivities next weekend, Root & Bone&rsquos Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are hosting an all-star ladies-only takeover dinner on January 23.

Cochon 555, the national culinary competition and pork-xtravaganza, launches its ten-city tour in New “Porc” City next weekend. To kick off the festivities, Root & Bone chefs and Top Chef alums Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth are hosting an all-star ladies-only takeover for the Chef’s Course Dinner on January 23. Chefs Elizabeth Falkner, Leah Cohen, Missy Robbins, Janine Booth and Mame Sow will each prepare one pork-centric course for the dinner – expect belly, cheeks, jowls, bacon and even a confit pig ear in Sow’s dessert. Booth is stoked to have a power team of women in her kitchen. “I’ll be honest: a lot of my staff are men and I’ve been desperately trying to find women to get into the kitchen,” she says. “There are so many really inspired female chefs out there. I’m honored to share my kitchen with four extremely talented ones.” She’ll be serving the last savory course of the evening, a whole root beer-glazed pig with Johnny cakes and pickles, served family style. Tickets are available at

Brady Lowe Celebrates Five Years of Cochon 555

It was a freezing January afternoon in 2009 when Brady Lowe launched his multi-city Cochon 555 heritage pig cooking competition at the Hiro Ballroom in New York City. The crowd included journalists, fans of gratis wine, bloggers and the guy who wears overalls to food events around town. We walked around sampling pork-centric dishes from chefs like Zak Pelaccio and Mark Ladner. Del Posto handed out chocolate-covered espresso beans laced with pork fat and smoked salt. Though we all got kind of drunk on bourbon and pork, heritage pig cookery — the topic at hand — was pretty much lost on all of us. We had yet to be schooled about Red Wattle and Hampshire pork breeds, and how using these products (as opposed to the factory farm garbage) was crucial. We had yet to be introduced to the power of Brady Lowe, the tireless champion of going H*A*M with the good stuff — a man who has grown his Cochon 555 brand into a calendar of 17 events taking place around the country.

Lowe returns to New York City on February 10 to kick off his fifth tour with an all-female competition (!!) featuring a diverse cast of the city’s best. Leah Cohen of Pig and Khao, Elizabeth Falkner of Krescendo and A Voce’s Missy Robbins will all be there (get your tickets here). We reached out the Lowe to find out how he has built on the success of Cochon 555.

How has the education of heritage pork grown since you started your events five years ago?
Five years ago, there was not a national craze for pig. Whole-animal utilization was not on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Heritage breeds where not available to chefs like they are today. It was hard work: calling up farms, getting pigs. I would not say it’s easy now, but there are lots more availability and species in markets where there was none.

The Cochon 555 event itself pulls basically the who’s who in whole-animal cooking. How do you pick your chefs? Is there an application process, or are you just in the scene and know…
It’s about timing, listening to the market and reading everyone’s menu. There are guidance tools like media, friends and other chefs. I’ve got a knack for finding out who’s buying whole pig, reading farmer mentions and heritage species on menus. Basically, who is promoting the growers and what they grow. The events are about balance, regional influences, raw cooking talent and passion. I have been watching and listening to chefs move around as much as what farms are raising new pig breeds.

And an all-female roster in NYC!
It was not possible five years ago and it’s such an honor to have such great chefs stand up to support the event, its cause and take part in the friendly competition. I wanted to start off my five year tour with something that has never been done, and an all female lineup is something I have never done. I am excited.

Favorite new cities in 2013?
Hawaii and Philly.

What were some of your favorite dishes during last year’s competition?

3. Pastrami liver mousse on rye, Thousand Island, cornichon

Is there a pig preperation that was at first cool, but now has sort of been done to death? As in, MOVE ON chefs. I’m thinking fat back chocolate pudding, but that is just me.
Consommé is rough. Ramen is hard too. There is a technique that is hard to capture and translate, as the broth is so personal to everyone’s taste. I like ramen you can stand a fork up in when it’s cold. I think bones are something that needs more attention as it can be done so well.

Is there are dish that CANNOT be made from pig?
Good question. MY answer: Heritage pork is magical, from it anything can be created.

All theory: You’ve done your thing with heritage pig, what is the next food “education” challenge you would take?
Heritage rabbits. It would be something so fun to do.

Do you practice meatless Mondays?
Huh? I guess that would make sense after Cochon.

Cochon 555 From A Judge's Perspective

This pig, named "Andy," was part of a butchering demonstration, with some lucky attendees taking parts of him home.

Chef Chris Pandel (w/back turned to camera) and the Bristol team prepare for their judging.

From the Bristol: a porchetta sandwich w/homemade sauerkraut.

Team Dunne's best entry, in my estimation: a shank and shoulder tamale with ranchero sauce and testa bouillon.

My favorite of Patrick Sheerin's offerings: mole-flavored head cheese.

From Team Graham Elliot: pork carnitas

Three Floyds "Minister of Propoganda" Lincoln Anderson holds up Sam Burman's bacon-infused Manhattan and bacon cotton candy on a crispy bacon stick.

Chef Stephen Dunne of VOLO and Paramount Room addresses the judges panel.

A better shot of Andy. Next to the pig is "Farmer Nick" Janovski, who provided Andy for Cochon 555, the pigs for Burman and Dunne, and served as one of the judges.

It was around 5 p.m. Sunday when I and the other judges for Cochon 555 gathered around a series of tables set up in the middle of a cavernous ballroom in the Drake Hotel, like a scene straight out of "Top Chef." Any questions about how we were to judge the competition were answered by Cochon founder Brady Lowe. We were asked to judge the chefs on a scale of 1-5 based on three factors: presentation, flavor, and utilization of the whole pig. That last factor was important, since this was a snout-to-tail competition.

The panel Lowe managed to snare for Cochon 555 was impressive. Also impressive was the sheer number of dishes created by Chris Pandel (The Bristol), Stephen Dunne (VOLO, Paramount Room), Patrick Sheerin (The Signature Room at the 95th), Sam Burman (bluprint) and Team Graham Elliot. I say that because Graham Elliot Bowles, rather than participate himself, instead sent a team from his restaurant. Each of Bowles's chefs created a dish that reflected his or her home state or most influential cuisine style. It also showcased the collaborative spirit with which Bowles runs his kitchen, where any and all chefs are encouraged to create something for the constantly changing menu.

The play worked team Graham Elliot wound up making an astounding 10 dishes. Not all of them were home runs, but they incorporated everything from shoulder to trotters and were as beautifully plated as something on a paper plate could be. The judges scores accounted for 49 percent of the total needed to be named "Prince of Porc," but the attendees voted Graham Elliot the winner easily. Of the named chefs who did show up, Sheerin far and away had the most impressive dishes. His slight twists to classic dishes, like an amazing mole-flavored head cheese, were my personal favorites. Burman utilized almost as many parts of the pig as Team Graham Elliot combined, with dishes whose conception didn't translate to execution, save for some amazing bacon cotton candy that places him on my short list of chefs to keep a close eye on.

I've included my favorite dishes from each chef in the gallery, along with descriptions.

Festival of Pork: Homemade spam recipe

The pork-centric tour, gathers together five chefs, five pigs and five wineries at each event – ultimately touching down in 10 cities across the country and bringing its message of nose-to-tail cooking, breed diversity and family farming to food enthusiasts nationwide.

Each Cochon 555 event challenges five local chefs to prepare a menu created from the entirety of heritage breed pigs for an audience of pork-loving epicureans and celebrated judges. Chefs competing for Prince or Princess of Pork in Chicago are Kevin Hickey (Allium) Cosmo Goss (Publican Quality Meats) Matthias Merges (Yusho) Ryan Poli (Tavernita) and Josh Adams (June Restaurant).

Guests will be treated to an epic pork feast alongside wines from five small family-owned Twenty judges and 400 guests help decide the winning chef, who is crowned the Prince of Pork and will compete against other regional winners at the finale Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on Sunday, June 16.

Cochon 555, April 28, at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
4:00 p.m. - VIP
5:00 p.m. - General Admission

5lb Ham
5lb Pork Shoulder
4lb Pork Belly
33g Chopped Garlic
100g Kosher Salt
83g Granulated Sugar
17g Pink Salt
5 1/3 Cups Ice Water

Cut all meat into strips and marinate with all ingredients except for water overnight. Grind through Small Die, Paddle in the Hobart until a sticky mixture is formed, then slowly stream in the Ice water. Transfer to loaf Pans and cook in the steamer at a temperature of 160 degrees to an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

Watch the video: Η Έπαρση της ελληνικής σημαίας στο Σικάγο, για την 25η Μαρτίου. (June 2022).


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