Cochon 555 Announces Chef, Special Events Lineup (And Say Hi, We’ll Be Judging!)

Photo: courtesy Cochon 555

A list of participating chefs leaked yesterday, but the official announcement contains a lot more about the events happening at Chicago’s Cochon 555 event this year, which will take place in The Four Seasons Hotel (newly porkified, as posh Seasons turned into meaty Allium under Chef Kevin Hickey). The traveling festival celebrating excellence in heritage pork— named for its theme of five chefs, five whole pigs, and five winemakers in collaboration— takes place in Chicago this year Sunday April 29, beginning at 4 pm (for VIPs) and 5 pm for general admission. The competing chefs are Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat), new Food & Wine Best New Chef Danny Grant (RIA and Balsan), Carlos Gaytan (Mexique), Mike Sheerin (Three Floyds and, soon, Trenchermen), and Jason Vincent (Nightwood). They’ll be competing with their heritage pigs and wines from five family wineries, to win the favor of judges (including ourselves) and attendees. But they’re far from the only chefs involved in this thing.

Some other events:

• A butchering demonstration from Rob Levitt (The Butcher & Larder)

• A blind tasting event of wines from Robert Kacher Selections

• Win cookware at a Le Creuset interactive tasting contest with Chef Andrew Zimmerman of Sepia

• Preview Cochon 555’s new Labor Day event with a whole hog family BBQ prepared by Allium chef (and hosting chef for this event) Kevin Hickey

• Drinks to be tried include beers from Anchor Brew, tastings of Chinaco Tequila, Three Floyd’s and the “Perfect Manhattan” Cochon 555 bar with Daniel Hyatt of Alembic SF featuring Templeton Rye, Hirsch, Angel’s Envy, Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Hudson Whiskey’s BabyBourbon and Luxardo

• And it will all kick off with a 25th anniversary toast to the James Beard Foundation, sponsored by Laurent-Perrier Champagne (who, speaking of anniversaries, are having their 200th this year)

But the main focus will be the competition, which gives weight to the opinions of both the official judges and everyone who attends. Attendees vote on the Best Bite of the Day, and their votes count for 51%, while the judges’ votes count for 49% in choosing one chef as Prince or Princess of Porc. The winner goes on to compete in the Grand Cochon during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June.

Tickets are $125 per person for general admission, $200 for VIP, which includes one hour early access to sample the competing chef stations, welcome cocktails from The King’s Ginger, artisan cheeses from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, and Hama Hama Oysters and the chance to win a year’s supply of artisanal meat and cheese from Cochon 555 and Murray’s Cheese. To order tickets, go here.

Cochon 555 Announces Chef, Special Events Lineup (And Say Hi, We’ll Be Judging!)