Vegetarians stay away – pigs will be flying at the Fairmont in San Francisco this weekend as Cochon 555 returns to the Bay Area.
The event on Sunday, May 20 is almost like a nationwide traveling rock concert with five chefs serving as the headlining act. Created by Taste Network’s Brady Lowe in 2008-2009, Cochon is a national event that takes place in major markets across the country with the idea to highlight the lack of consumer education about heritage breed pigs.
“Cochon is unlike a lot of other food events, many of which are more about marketing for a restaurant or bar. I want this to be a hands-on experience for guests with the chefs and something that everyone can enjoy,” said Lowe.
This year, the lineup is like a who’s who of chefs: Thomas McNaughton and Matt Sigler of Central Kitchen and Salumeria, Traci Des Jardins from Jardiniere, Nicolas Borzee from Bouche, Anthony Strong from Locanda and Jason Fox with Commonwealth. Each chef is given a whole heritage breed pig from a local producer and makes an array of dishes using the entire beast. Guests are asked to submit a vote for the chef serving the best dishes and an esteemed panel of judges also has a vote. The numbers are tallied at the end of the night and the winner of the San Francisco event goes on to the Grand Cochon finale, which is held each year at the Food & Wine Festival in Aspen, Colorado in June. Last year’s representative from San Francisco was Matt Accarrino from SPQR.
Lowe said the message is clearly being heard as the list of potential participating chefs grows each year. “ When we first started out, there were only a small handful of chefs to choose from, guys like Ryan Farr and Chris Cosentino. But now, there are so many more people using whole animals in their restaurants. The event really lends itself to provide more awareness.”
Cochon also features five local wineries, cocktails from Alembic’s Daniel Hyatt and as always, a butcher competition.
And a piece of advice from Lowe for first-time Cochon guests – split up and head to different stations for both wine and food and compare notes with your friends.
Cochon 555 is being held on Sunday, May 20 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Franciso (950 Mason Street). It opens at 4 p.m. for VIP’s and 5 p.m. for those with general admission tickets. Tickets are $125 for general admission, $200 for VIP.
All the proceeds go to the local farms that are providing the pigs for the evening and proceeds from the butcher demonstration go to local schools (already $10,000 raised this year across the country).