by Sophie Gayot
UPDATE, MARCH 29TH: And the winner is chef Walter Manzke of République. Congratulations! But I have to say that all the chefs put lots of time and efforts to create tasty dishes, and served them putting on a show. See all the photos below.
There are many cooking competitions, but Cochon 555 is a special one — so much passion! The participating chefs start getting crazy a month before, and the frenzy keeps building as the event gets closer. (The event has gained so much momentum that the winner now includes the title in his bio.) Brady Lowe started this traveling culinary competition and tasting event, which includes five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers, and throughout its seven years of existence more than 11 tons of heritage pork have been served around the country.
This Sunday, March 29, 2015, the competition will be held in Los Angeles. Chefs Tony DiSalvo (CAST), Steven Fretz (The Church Key), Walter Manzke (République), Kris Morningstar (Terrine) and Ricardo Zarate will serve dishes (up to six) prepared with a 150-pound heritage-breed hog from head to toe. They will be using heritage breeds from family farms that include a Red Wattle from Walnut Keep, Large Black from Cook Pigs Ranch, Hampshire from Rainbow Ranch Farms, Kune Kune from Olde Reminisce Farms and an Old Spot from DG-Langley Farm.
The ballots are cast by professional judges — I am one of them — but also by the public. During the afternoon, there will be a butcher demo by Nick Scafalbi of Cook’s Family Butcher Shop. At 7:00 p.m., signature desserts (aka “Swine & Sweets”) prepared by Carlos Enriquez of Patina will be served. Before that, be sure to stop at the “TarTare Bar,” opening at 5:15 p.m., helmed by Mike Kahikina of Barrel & Ashes.
There will be food up until 7:15 p.m., with some two pounds of “cochon” per guest, so come hungry. (DO NOT have brunch in the morning.)
The event will be held at the Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets start at $125. For more information, visit http://cochon555.com/
HERE ARE THE PICTURES OF THE EVENT. CLICK ON EACH PHOTO TO ENLARGE. Photos © GAYOT.com