Some of the top chefs in San Francisco recently gathered to take part in the last leg of a traveling culinary competition across the United States known as Cochon 555.
Starting three years ago, Cochon travels to different cities, featuring five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers, all in an effort to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs.
“One event can’t change the entire food production system, but we can celebrate people who are favorably tilting the scales back toward local producers,” Lowe said.
His passion for not only the event, but the idea of helping local farms was quite evident as he was like the Energizer Bunny the entire evening, talking to chefs, winemakers and those in attendance who got a chance to taste a wonderful array of dishes.
The event featured chefs Ravi Kapur from Prospect, David Bazirgan from Fifth Floor, Matthew Accarrino from SPQR, Brandon Jew and Salvatore Cracco from Bar Agricole and David Varley from Michael Mina. There was also a butcher competition featuring Chris Arentz from San Francisco-based Avedano’s Holly Park Market and Tracy Smaciarz of Heritage Meats in Rochester, Washington, who both took to masterfully cutting a Yorkshire pig from Christian Brothers Ranch.
Each chef offered a bevy of dishes, one seemingly more imaginative than the next. Can you imagine a chorizo-infused drink? Or how about a pig-flavored eclair? And yes, I would be remiss to not mention the pork-flavored marshmallow dessert.
20 local judges, featuring chefs from local restaurants, wine and liquor proprietors, shop owners and local writers as well, voted for their favorite creations. And those in attendance were also part of the judging process, voting on who they thought created the best menu.
And the winner? Matthew Accarrino took the crown by masterfully using his Berkshire Tamworth Cross Hog from Devil’s Gulch Ranch, creating several excellent small dishes. He will now go on to the finals, which will be held as part of the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado in June. Accarrino will be competing with other regional winners competing to become the 2011 Grand Cochon Champion.
Since its inception in 2009, Cochon 555 has donated over $30,000 to charity and put over $75,000 in incremental revenue in the hands of farms.