Heritage breed pigs don’t have quite the same notoriety as grass-fed beef or free-range chickens. Cochon555 aims to change that. Founded in 2008 by Brady Lowe, Cochon555 is a national competition pairing five pigs with five chefs and five winemakers to raise awareness about heritage breed pigs and funds for its chosen charity, Piggy Bank – a pig farm and genetic sanctuary that provides animals and information to family farmers throughout the United States.
In 2017, the competition spans 16 cities nationwide, culminating in the Grand Cochon event in Chicago this October where one chef is crowned “Prince or Princess of Porc.” As one of the 16 cities, five Seattle-area chefs will be competing on April 30 at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel for a chance at the national competition. This year’s competitors are Chef Mitch Mayers (Lark), Chef Addam Buzzalini (Tavolàta Belltown), Chef Derek Ronspies (Le Petit Cochon), Chef Brian Clevenger (Vendemmia), and Chefs Joshua Henderson and Derek Simcik (Scout).
One week prior to the event, each chef receives a 200-pound heritage breed pig from a local farmer. Each breed has its own characteristics – flavor profile, fat distribution – and the chef won’t know which breed they are receiving until it is delivered to them. Throughout the week, the competitor plans and prepares his pig for the Sunday event where he presents a 6-course “Judge’s Plate” to be scored on cooking techniques, utilization of the whole animal, and overall flavor. In addition to the Judge’s Plate, the chef must also present the ticketed public with 450 tasting portions.
“We’re incredibly excited to return to Seattle during our 2017 tour,” says Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe. “This event combines education and innovation in support of a return to heritage breed and family farming. The impact is local, but it is also about the future – we want our children to be able to enjoy safer, more honest, and delicious food for years to come,“ continues Lowe. “It’s only a matter of time until people demand better food choices when cooking or eating dinner. And we are standing right there with them, championing transparent foodways and a commitment to what’s local and responsible.”
Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200; and BESPOKE tickets $400 (includes a multi-course charity dinner prepared by 3 celebrity chefs on Saturday night; super early admission + exclusive private tasting and tour of Somm-Selected wines and the Barkeep competition by a Cochon555 director on Sunday; and a donation to Piggy Bank charity). To purchase tickets, visit online.