by Steven Doyle slideshow by Joey Stewart
Five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers are ready to create the Dallas food ultimate experience for the first time since the competition’s inception.
Cochon555, a nose to tail competition, was created in 2008 in response to lack of education around heritage breed pigs. The event is also dedicated to supporting family farmers and educating chefs and diners about the agricultural importance of utilizing Old World livestock.
Each of the chefs were given a heritage pig and had a week to create dishes using every part of the pig. At last night’s event, the chefs offered between five to six tasting dishes.
A judging panel tasted the offerings prior to the event opening to the public, and the judges included farmers, chefs, and media representatives. Their votes counted for 49 percent. The paid public came in later, tasting the various offerings along with wine from five local wineries, and they voted for their favorite dishes, making up 51 percent of the vote.
This year’s competing chefs included Host Chef Christof from Syré of LAW at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Josh Sutcliff & Junior Borges of Mirador, David Uygur of Lucia, Matt McCallister of FT33, and Misti Norris of the soon to be pop-up Petra and the Beast. The chefs prepared boldly flavored dishes in this friendly competition using whole heritage-breed pigs from family farms in a nose-to-tail, whole animal showcase.
A crowd of a few hundred pork-loving gourmands and twenty notable judges scored each chef on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques, overall flavor, and the “best bite of the day.” Among this year’s group of twenty notable judges include a lineup of local luminaries such as Chef Kent Rathbun, John Tesar of Knife, Nicolas Yanes of Juniper (Austin), emcee Billy Harris, as well as the headline all-star butcher, Zach Dunphy from Commissary Dallas.
Communal feasting is an integral part of Cochon555; the events are theaters for innovative spirit, wine, and cocktail experiences — all in, a 40-course gourmet tasting menu taken standing up with endless wines and hand-crafted cocktails from some of the best bars in Dallas. The Welcome Lounge ushered guests into the Buffalo Trace Punch Bar featuring a special welcome bite known as the “Texas Twinkie” from Hutchins BBQ, followed by the Signature Starter Bar and Cheese Experience featuring Cello, Cypress Grove and local cheesemonger Scardello Cheese.
Dallas Prince of Pork, David Uygur of Lucia, won top chef for his magnificent utilization of an entire Red Wattle raised by Larry Barton of Legend Meats. Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe bestowed Chef David with the regional title in addition to an amazing 4-day wine and gastronomy experience in Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region. Chef David secured a seat to represent Dallas at Grand Cochon, the national finale on September 30 in Chicago.
Guests sipped sparklers from DRY Sparkling and Topo Chico and The Manhattan Project featured premium bourbon from Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, and Breckenridge PX Cask Finish topped with Luxardo cherries. Guests learned about pairings at the TarTare Bar showcasing chef Bruno Davaillon of Bullion and the wines of Antica Napa Valley and a portfolio of stunning Rosés from Château D’Esclans paired with organic pâtés from Les Trois Petits Cochons. Cochon555 debuted a new experience called Trompo “Hora de Familia” hosted by David Peña of Bowls and Tacos in celebration of its first Global Cochon555 event in Mexico City later this year. Just before awards, guests received a sweet ending via an Innovative Dessert Pop-Up spotlighting pastry chef Grace Ko of 9Rabbits Bakery working with The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.
A spectacular array of wines grouped under the “5 Winemakers” banner featured Pax Wine Cellars; Sandhi; Twomey Cellars; Silver Oak and Kosta Browne while other beverage offerings included Wines from Rioja, Azzurro Wine Company, Wines of the World and Peroni.
The event raised $6,792 for Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kick starter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster (flood, fire and disease). Well done, Cochon555.