"The inspiration for our pig's blood item is a Gushers candy," says chef-testant Anthony Strong (Locanda), regarding the dishes he's working on for this Sunday's grand pork fest known as Cochon 555. "Also," he tells us, "since salumi is typically impossible given the short period of time, we're hustling out a few 'quick-curing' items just for the challenge." As you may already know, and as we showed you last year, Cochon is the ultimate celebration of heritage pigs and all things pork and pork-offal. Five chefs are challenged to create as many dishes as they can to impress a panel of judges, and the attending public, with a single pig, vying for the title of Prince or Princess of Porc.
Each chef gets a different heritage-breed pig, and they've only got a week to figure out and execute everything they're going to make with it, in addition to their regular restaurant duties. Chef-testants are judged in part on their full use of the animal, blood, brains, and all, and most take this pretty seriously. (We're thinking of Fifth Floor chef David Bazirgan's brain flan last year, and Bar Agricole's Brandon Jew doing wonders with offal scraps in a rustic ciccioli.)
This year's contenders, besides Strong, are Traci Des Jardins of Jardinière; Thomas McNaughton of Flour + Water; Nicolas Borzee of Bouche; and Jason Fox of Commonwealth. Also, Grub Street will be in attendance, as a judge.
We hear there are still a few tickets available, but this thing usually sells out. The VIP hour (recommended) starts at 4 p.m., and the event opens up at 5 p.m. This all happens at the Fairmont Hotel on Sunday, May 20. May the best pork artist win.
Cochon 555 [Official Site]