From the Judges’ Table: Cochon 555 and Big Pig Pictures

cochon 2011 flyerProductivity is probably down in Seattle this morning in the aftermath of yesterday’s pork-filled Cochon 555.

There were butchers breaking down pigs, sampling from whole roasted heritage breed pigs, and even chicharrones dipped in chocoloate. All this after the opportunity to eat plates of pork prepared by five competing chefs cooking five heritage pigs (with five winemakers providing pairings).

(I, for one, will be digesting all day.)

This third visit of Cochon 555 to Seattle proved that the event gets better and better each year. Most impressive: the all-star lineup of chefs. All are winners or current nominees for James Beard Foundation Awards as best chef. All five have restaurants placing in the top ten for “Most Delicious” in the recently released Fearless Critic Seattle Restaurant Guide.

Here are the plates as seen from my seat at the judges’ table, in order of presentation:

holly_500Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita: The maltagliati with pork sugo (and honeyed ricotta) was my favorite bite, while the inside out scrapple bomba brought back memories. (She also offered an over-the-top, in a fun way, bacon brittle gelato.)

rachel_500Rachel Yang (and Seif Chirchi) of Joule and Revel: Serving the largest number of tastes, I especially enjoyed the reuben with fennel kimchi and stinky tofu, as well as the pork belly with salted shrimp, kimchi, and oysters.

john_500John Sundstrom of Lark: The defending champion had a focused plate of three pork bites (along with a lard-laden cone filled with salted caramel ice cream and chicharrones; my favorite was the crab and pork red curry sausage.

ethan_500Ethan Stowell of Staple & Fancy, How to Cook a Wolf, Tavolata, and Anchovies & Olives: He served his food family-style; in addition to pork crostini and pig blood ravioli, here’s a shot of his intriguing (and addictive) zeppole made with pork shank.

jason_500Jason Stratton of Spinasse: I liked the pig ear and skin salad with anchovies and cherry bomb chiles, along with the pig trotter with spiced chestnut and bergamot.

As for the outcome, the winner of this year’s Cochon 555 (and still defending champion) is John Sundstrom. Congratulations to all the chefs for a job well-done.

(And now I’m going to eat tofu and vegetables for a few days.)



2 Responses to “From the Judges’ Table: Cochon 555 and Big Pig Pictures”

  1. February 22, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Gorgeous photos! The maltagliati with pork sugo (and honeyed ricotta) looks incredible. Wish I could have gone but I’m having a reaction at times to the pork I love so much. I did, though, watch a “Bizarre Foods” episode yesterday where a family killed their beloved pig whom they all knew personally and made him into scrapple as a huge annual family ritual. They were German of course. Their scrapple didn’t look nearly as gorgeous as yours but I doubt I can get within a foot of actual scrapple. The pork and red curry sausage sounds awesome though, and I always love a good Reuben.

  2. Jay
    February 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    Thanks so much, Miko! Sorry about your pork problems. Maybe you should try to attend Lamb Jam in the fall? It’s another quality event.

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