Jump to content

Cochon 555


MeMc
 Share

Recommended Posts

I said I'd pass this information along. I thought some folks here might be interested. . . .

COCHON 555 - Washington D.C.

“5 Pigs, 5 Chefs, 5 Winemakers”

May 31st, 2009

WHAT: A group of top Washington D.C. area chefs will each prepare a heritage breed hog from head to toe for this competition. Cochon 555 is the only national chef competition promoting heritage pigs and breed diversity. Guests and professional judges will determine a winner based on creative, classic preparation and overall best flavor. The winner will be crowned the “Prince of Porc”. In addition, five family-owned wineries will showcase their wines.

WHO: Taste Network presents

Brian McBride, Blue Duck Tavern

RJ Cooper, Vidalia

Nicholas Stefanelli, Mio

Jamie Leeds, Commonwealth Gastropub

John Manolatos, Cashion's Eat Place

Wineries: Miner Family Vineyards, Patz & Hall and more.

WHEN: Sunday, May 31st, 5:00 p.m.

Chef & Judges VIP Reception 3:30 p.m. photo opportunity/rsvp required

WHERE: Mandarin Oriental, Washington D.C. - 1330 Maryland Ave SW

WHY: To promote heritage pigs and breed diversity in local and national communities. Also, to raise awareness for ICompassion, an organization that works to reduce the number of individuals who die from kidney disease each year through providing support with a national live donor registry.

HOW: The cost is $125 per person and is open to the public. For tickets or more info visit www.amusecochon.com. Advance ticket purchase required.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this much I can tell you: Something unsettling is going on at Mio.

Their kitchen put on a respectable showing on Sunday at the Cochon 555 event, though I thought they were outclassed by Commonwealth and the winner, Vidalia. If that 100 lbs of heritage pig turns out to be their swan song (and there is certainly no reason to conclude that is the case), then they went guns blazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Their kitchen put on a respectable showing on Sunday at the Cochon 555 event, though I thought they were outclassed by Commonwealth and the winner, Vidalia. If that 100 lbs of heritage pig turns out to be their swan song (and there is certainly no reason to conclude that is the case), then they went guns blazing.
The scrapple and ravioli dish was fabulous. One of my top three favorite dishes of the evening.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just read about this event at: http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/296146/cochon-555-5-chefs-5-pigs-5-winemakers-dc-national-tour

For those who went last year, how much food do you actually get? It is more of a social 'in' thing to do? It certainly seems like a cool event, but really, I don't care much for that -- I just want to eat a lot of food ;)

RJ Cooper said he prepared pork some 20+ ways last year, and only the judges got to eat most of that. So if I buy my way in with a regular ticket, what will I actually get to experience?

Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wasn't as lucky as agm at this event last year.

We arrived right on time, though were unable to taste any of Chef Cooper's food, because there was simply none left by the time our turn on line came up. There certainly were some delicious offerings by the other chefs, but the extended wait times in line for both food and wine are what I remember most about this event. Perhaps they'll have worked out some of the kinks this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was a judge again. David Varley probably carried the judges room but the overall voting was close. There was a lot of food and each chef had hits and clunkers. The biggest hts from the discussion I had included Eola's pork consumee & pork heart. There was a pork belly with pickled watermelon that was a top hit for most but in my piggy fog I am not sure if it was Joey Depalma or David Varley. Nick Stephanelli has a lot of nice things including his salty caramel with lardo, his lardo, his speck and his meatball. RJ wowed with his Viet Namese inspired soup. But there were 38 dishes overall and everyone was groaning at the end.

The big winner was the idea of getting to know your suppliers and excellent sourcing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Did he get his pig in November of 2009 or do the principles of charcuterie occur at an accelerated pace in his refrigerator?

Those names certaily should ahve been in quotes. They were sous vide versions of the real thing, very denatured compared to an artisan product well aged, but stil very good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those names certaily should ahve been in quotes. They were sous vide versions of the real thing, very denatured compared to an artisan product well aged, but stil very good.

Ah, modern sleight of hand. I sous-vide Welch’s grape juice with a piece of oak all the time and call it “Barolo.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, modern sleight of hand. I sous-vide Welch’s grape juice with a piece of oak all the time and call it “Barolo.”

But if you could make it taste like a Barolo, then what would be the harm. The lardo was damned good, int he league with the real deal stuff I have had in Toscana. I did not notice that is was not cured. The speck was interesting, nice chew and good flavors but only faintly speck like. But the real beauty of the lardo was its use... the salty caramel balls were good unto themselves, but the bite with the speck was better.

I don't want to be put in a position of defending sous vide. I think most sous vide dishes I have had have a sameness to them that makes me wonder why I don't get the joy. Here, on two products, it made for really good eating that impressed a whole bunch of people. No more, no less.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But if you could make it taste like a Barolo, then what would be the harm.

Diluting the respect, pride and appreciation of authenticity. The difference between an imposter vintage Italian bicycle or automobile part vs the real deal; dedicated theory, practice, technique and hand crafted passion/precision rather than a process simplified by a machine which extols efficiency while castrating tradition. Call it “Kwick Cured fat back” or “Speedy Speck (German or Italian?)”, but do not compromise an appellation which requires decades or centuries of dedication to achieve and merit. It is perhaps an argument best savored by those biding on a 1939 Auto Union and others who are content buy a bullshit kit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Diluting the respect, pride and appreciation of authenticity. The difference between an imposter vintage Italian bicycle or automobile part vs the real deal; dedicated theory, practice, technique and hand crafted passion/precision rather than a process simplified by a machine which extols efficiency while castrating tradition. Call it “Kwick Cured fat back” or “Speedy Speck (German or Italian?)”, but do not compromise an appellation which requires decades or centuries of dedication to achieve and merit. It is perhaps an argument best savored by those biding on a 1939 Auto Union and others who are content buy a bullshit kit.

Ohhh please don't tell me you actually think that the DOP name assures quality or artisan production or respect for tradition. I have had a lot of DOP Speck {Alto Adige} and most of it is factory made crapola passing itself off as something superior because the rules and regs of the DOP do not assure artisan production. Most reggiano DOP is not worth eating. Prisciutto di Parma? Most of it is to real prosciutto what the St Louis Rams are to real football teams: Amateur, immature, with only faded hints of the real glory of the past.

I was writing carelessly about an event wherein I had 43 plates of food. Nick called in speck so I used his terminology. But his lardo stacks up with some of the great lardos of the past I have had and so it deserved recognition as making something with a great flavor and doing so not using the time honored techniques. He could not have made such a product, I feel, whithout a great appreciation of the real thing.

And, as a last add, you know who I am and you know my love and championing of things authentic. But I champion them not because they are somehow naturally above the modern, but because they taste great. Its that simple. If you can make something taste as great as the traditional method while eschewing the traditions themselves, then more power to you. If he made a writtend menu and used the term lardo di colonata for ihs "lardo', I would be all over Nick's ass in that it obviously isn't the real thing. But in this made up event, with its limitation imposed, Nick need make no mea culpas.

Save your passions and your trotting out of you breadth of knowlege for those easily impressed. I think commenting about food one has not tasted to be .... Let's just say an inauthentic experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cochon 555 DC 2013 (speechwriter for the Range administration).

Prosciutto Cotto & Mortadella

Asparagus in blood aspic

and chicories in a smoked ham-hock vinaigrette.

-∞∞∞-

Leverpostej

Danish-style liver terrine wrapped in cured belly.

Salted and cured anchovies, a couple of marinated capers.

-∞∞∞-

Pâté en Croûte

It’s heart, tongue, kidney, fatback, pistachios and a few figs.

Some pickled rhubarb and mushrooms.

-∞∞∞-

Pork Belly Pojarski

Breaded and fried

Ramp gribiche.

-∞∞∞-

L’Astet

Loins roasted with spring garlic

Warm confit potatoes and 4-spice rillettes.

-∞∞∞-

Saucisson en Brioche

Clothbound cheddar sausage baked in a leaf lard brioche

And cracklin’ whipped lard.

Pâté en Croûte with pistachio inlay.

8633807804_9c0014c022_z.jpg

Prosciutto Cotto, Mortadella, Spalla Cotta, Saucisson en brioche.

8633799064_91cd295431_z.jpg


1st three courses

8633800146_edd84f63e6_z.jpg


Asparagus in blood aspic (stock from bones, skin & beets; clarified with blood), pâté en croute, liver terrine.

8633798964_2a00ee323a_z.jpg


Cheddar saucisson en brioche (baker Ben Arnold), pork belly Pojarski, smoked lard & pretzel truffles (pastry chef John Miele), roasted loin & tenderloin-within with potato and rillettes. (Max Flatow photography)

8630167919_44ec46c8c3_z.jpg

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it's worth I was just discussing it with some friends who went last year.  They said they had fun, eventually left full, but said they wouldn't be going back this year.  They said they felt like the price was that high because they were floating the costs of every media person who was comped (and loudly proclaiming their VIP status).

Pictures sure look awesome though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it's worth I was just discussing it with some friends who went last year.  They said they had fun, eventually left full, but said they wouldn't be going back this year.  They said they felt like the price was that high because they were floating the costs of every media person who was comped (and loudly proclaiming their VIP status).

Pictures sure look awesome though.

I wonder, how many of the media folks were local bloggers?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wonder, how many of the media folks were local bloggers?

If my own experience at events like this is any indication, probably 99%.

But I mean, if this is the status quo in this town at this point, why not go to this one.  The food looks awesome.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I mean, if this is the status quo in this town at this point, why not go to this one.  The food looks awesome.

Because tickets are $130, and I'm not interested in paying that if I'm going to spend most of the night on line waiting for little bites of food, and then leave hungry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...