This one-of-a-kind culinary competition seems to get better with each passing year. Five top chefs took the Loews Miami Beach Hotel by storm and prepared a creative menu using family-raised heritage breed pigs. Over 36 delicious dishes make COCHON the most flavorful culinary event in the nation, complete with endless wine, brews and spirits. Cookies topped with bacon, melt in your mouth porchetta and succulent porkbelly tacos are just some of the mouthwatering bites we enjoyed at this year's event. The 2015 chefs: Lindsay Autry of Fin & Feather, Xavier Torres of Drunken Dragon, Todd Erickson of Haven South Beach, Jason Pringle of db Bistro Moderne and Richard Hales of Blackbrick.
Cochon 555: Hogs & Bourbon · Miami Beach
Now in its 7th year, COCHON’s mission has always been to further the conversation of heritage pigs on dinner tables across the nation. Family farmers struggled to educate chefs on the importance of heritage breed pigs, restaurants looked to source the best, highest-quality ingredients and consumers sought out responsibly raised proteins for feeding their families. This quest turned into COCHON 555 in 2008. Pork enthusiasts, top chefs, and brands in each market unite to expand “good food movement” knowledge during this tour through 11 cities.
Lindsay Autry of Palm Beach’s Fin & Feather took home the title of “Princess of Porc,” defeating Drunken Dragon’s Xavier Torres, Haven’s Todd Erickson, db Bistro Moderne’s Jason Pringle and Blackbrick’s Richard Hales.
As in previous years, the competing chefs are challenged to break down a whole hog and create five spectacular dishes in an effort to earn the votes of the official panel of culinary experts. The panel included an all-star lineup of local judges including Chef Aaron Brooks of EDGE Steak & Bar, Jose Mendin of Pubbelly, Jamie DeRosa of Tongue & Cheek and Danny Serfer of Mignonette. Both Brooks and Mendin are former champions of the epic porc fest.
The competing chefs were wildly imaginative and intensely passionate with their presentations making a tough choice for both the judges and guests! Chef Jason Pringle, of db Bistro Moderne shared his secret to his spectacular paté en croute! Pringle used a giant copper loaf pan that was gifted to him as a wedding present. “When I received this, I knew I wanted to make a paté en croute.” A somewhat tedious process that was well worth it for our sake, Pringle succeeded in shaping the mold to resemble a pig’s face. Keeping with the pig theme, the db Bistro Moderne team payed homage to its French flare with bacon, maple, dulce de leche and dark chocolate macaroons also decorated with adorable pig faces.
Brad Kilgore of soon to open Alter in Wynwood, drew a crowd of guests that wrapped almost the length of the room! The Alter team prepared a juicy porchetta with an unexpected twist. Taking inspiration from South Florida’s caribbean influences, Kilgore seasoned the pork with jerk spices and barbecue and served with a light and creamy pork sausage, potato salad.
We LOVED the roti-style ham hock tacos by Richard Hales of Blackbrick/Centro Taco! Each bite accompanied by lightly seasoned squid and crisp cilantro aioli. Hales’ sweet and salty bacon-wrapped chocolate chip cookie was also a hit - one bite was enough to put you in a food-induced coma!! The decadent bites continued with Chef Todd Erickson of Haven and his deliciously glazed bacon cinnamon rolls!
One of our favorites, and the winning bite of the evening, was Chef Autry's Liverwust Push-Pops. Presented on a bed of grass, these heart-shaped push-pop mechanisms were filled with braised and grilled liver sausage, a thin layer of golden mustard and topped with sweet pickles. Best enjoyed as a one ‘pop’ shot, these hearts made us swoon!
The Pop-Up Butcher shop was a spectacle within itself. A whole pig from Florida Fresh Meat Company was broken down by Andres Barrientos of Miami Smokers. That is, of course, after the hog was tattooed by the Miami Ink crew with a Charlotte’s Web-theme piece, appropriately aligned with his name-- Wilbur. COCHON guests had the opportunity to purchase cuts of this heritage bred swine, with all proceeds benefiting the students of Johnson & Wales.
Also joining the celebration of heritage pigs was Dena Marino of MC Kitchen. She teamed up with Parma to create mouthwatering parma ham paninis with fontina cheese and peach orange sage glaze. Mignonette also made an appearance, bringing along their classic secret sauce for their succulent oysters, shucked to order.
The evening’s farm-to-table theme was carried throughout with patinated metal and rustic wood accents. Vintage accessories adorned each station including mason jars for your cocktails, wooden chests containing the delicious bites for your consumption and menu chalkboards. COCHON 555’s agricultural ornamentations adorned the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, turning it into the perfect setting for the celebration of responsible farming, cooking and consumption of heritage breed pigs.
To keep us hydrated during the porc-fest, Whistle Pig Whiskey, Breckenridge Bourbon Whiskey, and Eagle Rare Bourbon Whiskey were available to sample throughout the evening. The Breckenridge boys were mixed up delicious Smoked Old Fashioneds while Eagle Rare was holding down the Perfect Manhattan Bar, distributing mason-jarred Manhattans with a slice of bourbon-infused capicola on top.
Check out our visual recap of this weekend's pork paradise.