The idea behind Cochon 555, a “traveling culinary competition to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs,” was relatively simple. Five chefs were each given a pig, told to use as much of it as possible, and then judged on the results. But simple went out the window when the five chefs turned out to be Mike Sheerin (Three Floyds Brewpub), Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia), Michael Fiorello (Mercat a la Planxa), Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), and Chris Pandel (The Bristol). The chefs put out something like 40 different dishes at the event last night at the Blackstone Hotel, including Thai sausages, pork belly ramen, chitlin sandwiches on Wonder Bread, cracklin’ caramel corn, and something called a porcine jello shot. It was near overdose of pork, but we survived to tell the tale. Of course, only one chef was able to win the big prize.
In the end Michael Fiorello from Mercat a la Planxa took the top prize by putting out seven different dishes. They weren’t tied together by any real concept beyond the fact that pork played a central roll in each. His dishes included a pork liver mousse with aspic, pork belly ramen, and porchetta de testa.
Stephanie Izard took much the same route, sending out six different dishes which took their inspiration from six different cuisines (Mexican, Korean, Spanish, Thai, Italian, and American). On the other hand, Mike Zimmerman just seemed to try it all, sending out eight main dishes, along with a separate board of five kinds of charcuterie. It seemed like everyone tried to use as much of the pig as possible.
Of course, don’t trust, take a look at a slideshow from the event, which presents the pork in all it’s glory.