Nearly 600 guests swarmed Brooklyn this past Sunday to indulge on delicious pork dishes and top notch cocktails for Cochon555. The evening consisted of over 1,500 pounds of heritage breed pork responsibly raised on family farms prepared by some of NYC’s top chefs. This event marked the first stop on Cochon555‘s 2017 nationwide tour where I was grateful to be a part of the celebrations.
The tour will visit 10 cities, with the culminating Grand Cochon event in Chicago in October. In addition to educating guests more about heritage bred pork, the event raised over $7,800 for Piggy Bank, an organization which aims to change the future of food by creating a community in which small farmers can learn about safer, more responsible practices.
Five chefs were each given a 200-pound heritage breed pig and are responsible for concocting delicious dishes to feed guests. This year’s five competing chefs included:
- Chef Ryan Bartlow of Quality Eats
- Chef Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted
- Chef Nicole Gajadhar of Saxon + Parole
- Chef Aaron Hoskins of Birds & Bubbles
- Chef Chris Szyjka of Chef’s Club by Food & Wine
The dishes are judged by a panel of experts from the hospitality industry, which included Brad Famerie of Public/Saxon + Parole, Matt Lambert of Musket Room, Bryce Shuman of Betony, Thomas Schneller of CIA, and Francis Derby of The Cannibal.
In the end Chef Nicole Gajadhar of Saxon + Parole won over the judges with her vast array of unique dishes with creative names, from the “Bloody Sunday” with blood noodles, salt-cured & smoked loin, coconut broth and crispy head; the L.E.S. Egg Roll with pork shoulder pastrami, black garlic, ginger cabbage, cilantro and a tamarind sauce; Into the Woods & Out to Sea with smoked-brined butt, mushroom and truffle whipped lardo, uni and smoked trout roe; Belly Full of Goodness with belly and liver mousse, Fuji apple bourbon jelly, smoked pignolia and a black ‘piggie’ pretzel; Let That Tutu Twirl, a cotton candy with pork dust and blood macaron chocolate-caramel jowl ganache; and Porctail with a pork mist, mescal, aiji dulce, chicharron, yellow pepper and bergamot.
Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe announced, “The competition gets more intense and dynamic with every year, and this year’s New York City chefs showed precisely why the city is still the watchword for culinary excellence in this country. Winning Chef Nicole’s dishes were bold, modern, thoughtful, and full of the kind of flavors that only enhance what heritage breed pigs have to offer.” Chef Gajadhar will go on to the Grand Cochon national finale in October. Congratulations for a job well done!
In addition to the pork dish compettion, there was the Punch Kings cocktail competition where NYC’s best bartenders mixed delicious drinks. Anthony Bohlinger won for his Hasbrouck Heights cocktail, made with Breckenridge Bourbon, orange bitters, lemon, orange peel-infused orgeat, and bitters.
Not only did the drinks taste great, but presentation was also important. The punch bowls were garnished with fruit and flowers, and cocktails were mixed on the spot. We loved the extra flourish of fire as well – check out the video!
Other drinks included: the Manhattan Project presented by Poached Jobs; Angostura‘s Swizzle Bar and the Tiki Bar featuring Angostura Rum; the Courvoisier Cognac ‘neat’ tasting with hand-crafted chocolates; a Heritage Rum cart; Buffalo Trace in the welcome lounge, DRY Sparkling non-alcoholic sodas; and array of wines, including Wines of the World, the Azzurro Wine Company, wines of Antica Napa Valley, White Wines of Germany, Scholium Project, Pax Wine Cellars, Element Winery, Silver Oak, and more.
In addition to the five competing chefs’ dishes, guests also enjoyed other amazing dishes. We enjoyed farmhouse cheeses from Savile Row, Columbia Cheese and Formaggio Kitchen; a pop-up bakery from La Brea; a Salami Snack Bar from Creminelli and Divina; pâté from Les Trois Petit Cochons; a Luxury Butter Bar featuring Sabatino truffled butter; and a delicious ramen bar with a creamy heritage pork broth.
My favorite dessert was the red velvet cake by Chef Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn. While they were slicing up the cake for serving, we had a mini chemistry lesson. Apparently blood and eggs have similar chemical properties, so this cake was made with pig’s blood. That fun fact did not seem to deter anyone as the cake was greedily eaten up whole.
Big thanks to all of the hard working chefs and bartenders for your delicious creations!
About the Cochon555 US Tour
The Cochon555 US Tour executes a yearly host of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs through an innovative nose-to-tail pig cooking competition. This epic pork feast visits 20 major cities in North America annually and stages over 60 events. The tour is comprised of an array of live expressions including Heritage Fire (live-fire); Heritage BBQ (global grilling cultures); and Grand Cochon (national whole-hog championship). Cochon555 cultivates a long-term impact for heritage species, raised by family farms in top culinary markets in North America. Both educational and inspirational messages are circulated among 16,000 guests; 2,200+ chefs; 150+ family farms; and 16 culinary schools. Since 2009, 50,000+ consumers have experienced heritage pork for the first time, more than $500,000 has been donated to charities, and over $750,000 has been paid directly to our farmers. For more details and videos of events, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.
About Piggy Bank
Launched in 2015 by Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe, Piggy Bank is a pig farming sanctuary. Harboring a Noah’s Ark-worthy selection of heritage breeds, it provides free genetics and access to shared business plans to emerging family farms. Piggy Bank aims to change the future of food by creating a community in which small farmers can learn about safer, more responsible practices and benefit from the sharing of genetics, livestock, and the very information needed to thrive as small businesses. The Piggy Bank farm, to be located in Missouri, raises heritage breed pigs to be gifted to communities, while building a model of agricultural transparency. Piggy Bank is a nonprofit corporation with federal tax exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3). Follow the Piggy Bank conversation on Twitter @PiggyBankOrg. For more information, watch the video http://j.mp/PIGGY_BANK or visit www.piggy-bank.org.