COCHON 555

I just got my ticket to the second annual Cochon 555, and I’m hoping you’ll join me next Sunday evening to pig out on more than 750 pounds of pork prepared by five of Portland’s best chefs, sip fine wines from the likes of  Elk Cove, Domaine Drouhin, and Domaine Serene, and help crown Portland’s next “Prince of Porc.”

cochon555

What is Cochon 555? It’s not a fancy car race, as I initially thought when I first heard of it last year. Founded by Brady Lowe of the Taste Network, Cochon 555 is the only heritage breed pig and chef competition in the U.S. Lowe created the event with the intent of raising consumer awareness of heritage breeds, which include Duroc, Berkshire, Landrace, Red Wattle, Gloucester Old Spot, Hampshire, and Yorkshire.

piggyFrom 4-8pm on Sunday, May 16, at the Governor Hotel in Downtown Portland, chefs Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon), Naomi Pomeroy (Beast), Jason Barwikowski (Olympic Provisions), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), and Cathy Whims (Nostrana), will each prepare a heritage breed pig from head to toe. Each 125-pound pig can be pre-cooked, braised, grilled, pressed, pickled, rubbed, smoked, seared, sauced, spiced, injected, marinated, cured in any way, or otherwise prepared.

The resulting culinary creations will be judged by both professional judges and event guests based on utilization, presentation and overall best flavor. For 2.5 hours, guests can roam the hall during the stand-up reception, sipping wine, tasting pork, and passing judgement. (Can you think of a better way to spend your Sunday?) The winner will inherit the “Prince (or Princess, presumably) of Porc” crown from last year’s winner, none other than Paley’s Place Executive Chef Vitaly Paley. They also get to compete with other winning chefs from across the country at the Grand Cochon during the posh Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this summer.  Oo la la!

Five notable local wineries will showcase their wines at the event–Elk Cove Vineyards, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Soter Vineyards, and Domaine Serene, so you’ll not go thirsty. Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats will demonstrate a whole pig breakdown, and in the VIP Lounge, Chefs Greg Denton (Metrovino) and David Anderson (Genoa/Accanto) will be serving up delectable preparations of oysters provided by Tobias Hogan (EaT oyster bar).

wineyswineIf you’re a VIP sort, your extra special and slightly more expensive ticket lets you pass through the swiney gates early for a reserve wine tasting (by an enhanced list of participating wineries), artisan cheese reception, artisan libations by local mixologists, a selection of local microbrews, and a relaxed, exclusive “meat and greet” with the chefs, winemakers and judges of Cochon 555.

General admission tickets are $125, and VIP tickets are $175. A little pricey perhaps, especially if you just shelled out for a belly-busting good time at Taste of the Nation last week, but think of it this way–how often do you have the chance to intimately mix ‘n mingle with the elite of Portland chefs while porking out on a whopping 750 pounds of heritage pork? That’s what I thought.

For more information or to buy your tickets (and I hope you do so we can pork out together), go to the Cochon 555 website, or for those of you who try to interact solely through Facebook, here is the Cochon 555 FB page.