After all was said and done in Aspen, there was still one more event on the docket for many – the Grand Cochon. Featuring heritage breed pigs and top chefs from around the country, the Grand Cochon was the final culmination of weeks of national Cochon 555 competitions. The ten winning chefs, who were each crowned the ‘Prince of Porc’ in their respective cities, were invited to compete for the final crown and the title of ‘King of Porc’.
Hosted by the always lovely Gail Simmons of Food & Wine and Bravo’s Top Chef, the Grand Cochon took place on the final Sunday of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, with many Classic attendees descending on the town’s Hotel Jerome for the final pork-off.
I was thrilled to support more local favorites – Portland’s Jason Barwikowski of Olympic Provisions and Seattle’s John Sundstrom of Lark – during the Aspen porcine competition. Both chefs brought their best to the competition, with Barwikowski utilizing a Duroc/Berkshire pig from Sweet Briar Farms in Oregon, and Sundstrom working with a Duroc/Berkshire as well, from Sun Basin Farm in Washington.
Other chefs competing for the crown of piggy delights:
- Matt Jennings, Farmstead, Inc., Providence, RI
- David Varley, Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
- Scott Romano, Charlie Palmer at the Joule, Dallas, TX
- Staffan Terje, Perbacco, San Francisco, CA
- Corwin Kave, Fatty ‘Cue, New York City, NY
- Devin Knell, The French Laundry, Napa, CA
- Matt Steigerwald, Lincoln Cafe, Mount Vernon, IA
- Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, SC
In addition to the ten talented chefs, there was also an ongoing butchering demo by chef Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats in San Francisco. The guests judges for the Grand Cochon: renowned chefs Jacques and Claudine Pepin, Aspen chef Ryan Hardy, cheese maven Laura Werlin, Plum TV’s Ramona Bruland, and Eatocracy’s Kat Kinsman, among others. Some of the pork delights offered included a braised heart and trotter “boudin”, red curry pork shoulder, smoked porkloin, and a surprising dessert of chocolate cupcakes with a blood chocolate center and lard frosting.
And he who was crowned the King of Porc, the ruler of all things pig? D.C.’s David Varley, who sealed the deal with his post-pork dessert bite, a rich lard-filled rendition of the popular Oreo cookie.
Dare I say, I believe I’m officially porked out. Congrats to all who competed!
*Photo credit: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender