Vegans beware! Cochon Heritage Fire is a celebration of mouth-watering, carnivore-friendly fare. Last Saturday, prominent local and visiting chefs (including Jason Vincent from Chicago's Nightwood, the 2012 Grand Cochon winner) convened at the River Terrace Inn in Napa to dish up a variety of enticing bites, highlighting heritage breed goats, lamb, pigs, rabbits, foraged mushrooms, and wild birds.
The final event of the Food and Wine Classic is a pork showdown known as the Grand Cochon. Cochon 555 is a roaming culinary competition that takes place in 10 cities across the nation. In each of the cities, five chefs are given five heritage pigs; they have to make the most creative and delicious pork dishes. The winner from each city heads to Aspen to fight it out for the Prince of Porc title. After an entire weekend of eating and drinking, it was hard to stomach all 10 dishes, but I did manage to taste a lot of them. Here's an inside look at the porky party.
Last night I headed over to the Fairmont Hotel for the San Francisco stop of the traveling pig competition, Cochon 555. The 10-city tour features five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers with one chef's pork creations taking home a prize. The 10 winning chefs will compete at the upcoming Food & Wine Classic to see who is named the Grand Cochon. With his delectable crispy fried pig trotters and slow-cooked pork ragu on housemade pasta, Perbacco's Stefan Terje was the clear winner of the night.
To take a look at the other competitors and their dishes, check out all my photos from the event after the break.
Welcome, June! We've never been more ready to say hello to Summer, the unofficial high season of food festivals. There are a score of events to choose from, including New York's first-ever Latin American restaurant week, a barbecue celebration, and a chowder cook-off.
- Las Vegas, NV: Taste of the Nation Las Vegas — June 2
- San Jose, CA: Dine Downtown San Jose — June 2-12
- New York, NY: Gourmet Latino Festival — June 4-12
- Richmond, VA: Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival — June 5
- Newport, RI: Great Chowder Cook-Off — June 5
- Los Angeles, CA: LA Wine Fest — June 5-6
- San Francisco, CA: Cochon 555: 5 Chefs, 5 Pigs, 5 Winemakers — June 6
- Los Angeles, CA: Taste of the Nation LA — June 6
- New Orleans, LA: Gin: The Other White Meat — June 7
- San Francisco, CA: StarChefs Rising Stars Revue — June 16
It's the dead of Winter, but if you look hard enough, there's plenty of partying to be had. Put on your Stetson and head to my favorite event, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, for an epic barbecue competition. Or, for a true snout-to-tail experience, check out Cochon 555 in the Napa Valley.
It's a big week in Yum land — for the first time ever, we'll be in attendance at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and ready to have some fun in the sun at Rachael Ray's Burger Bash and Emeril Lagasse's BubbleQ party. We'll also be at Crushpad's Around the World in 80 Sips — if you're planning on going, check out our exclusive deal and be sure to say hello.
- New York, NY: Toujours Le Bec-Fin — Feb. 24
- San Francisco, CA: Around the World in 80 Sips — Feb. 25
- Houston, TX: World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest — Feb. 25-27
- Miami, FL: South Beach Wine & Food Festival — Feb. 25-28
- Grand Rapids, MI: Winter Beer Festival — Feb. 27
- Grant, FL: Grant Seafood Festival — Feb. 27-28
- Seattle, WA: Seattle Food and Wine Experience — Feb. 28
- Napa, CA: Cochon 555: 5 Chefs, 5 Pigs, 5 Winemakers — Feb. 28
- New Orleans, LA: Achieving Great Cocktails in High Volume — Mar. 1
On Sunday night I found myself at Cochon 555, a one-night roving food festival that celebrates all things pork. While I made the rounds trying everything from pork head to bacon-Rice Krispie treats, I thought, "wow, I'm an adventurous eater!" Take this plate for example. Every bite consists of some pork product made by Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats. However, there was a large crowd around Farr's table, so I didn't get to see the menu. No matter, at this point of the evening I was starting to feel like a little piggy and I gobbled up each item without ever knowing what they were. Could you do the same?