One of North America’s most talked about culinary competitions returns to New York City on January 24 with a one-of-a-kind stand-up tasting reception featuring five chefs cooking five heritage breed pigs in a friendly competition for a cause. Upping its commitment to the good food movement, this year’s tour will benefit Piggy Bank, a genetic sanctuary that will provide free heritage breed pigs and business plans to emerging family farms. Kicking off its 8th Annual 18-city tour, Cochon555 is dedicated to uniting 16,000 guests across the country with local farmers, renowned chefs, prominent winemakers, restaurateurs, craft brewers, and distillers. Together, they are raising awareness for honest food producers, responsible farming and the first open-source agriculture platform.

This year’s competing chefs include Justin Smillie of Upland, Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo, and Mike Poiarkoff of Vinegar Hill. The five chefs will prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole hog. In addition to the 36 dishes prepared from locally raised pigs, guests will feast on educational experiences featuring boutique wines and culinary cocktails paired with delicious bites. The winner of the regional event will be announced as the “Princess or Prince of Porc” and go on to compete for the national title of “King or Queen of Porc” at Grand Cochon, the tour finale, held at the Viceroy in Snowmass/Aspen on June 18th.

The New York version of this event includes 2,000-plus pounds of heritage pork from animals raised safely, honestly, and sustainably. Cochon555 is famous for its culinary “pop-up” experiences that take place about every 20 minutes throughout the evening. New in 2016, guests will enjoy the Ramen Shop paired with Wines of Germany, the Five Winemakers Tasting, Welcome Punches featuring Buffalo Trace and DRY Sparkling, a lovely TIKI Bar Experience prepared with The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, and the new Luxe Butter Bar featuring the wines of Antica Napa Valley. Billy Harris of Hanging with Harris will host the Pop-Up Butcher Shop to raise money for charity with the support of Williams-Sonoma. Additional experiences include the Artisan Cheese Bar, a TarTare Bar featuring Creekstone Farms, the Seafood Shelf featuring oysters and shrimp, and Prosciutto di Parma will spotlight a local ham specialist. Wine lovers will rejoice as we welcome Fasel Shenstones‘ Vermut Experience featuring La Cuesta alongside wineries including Ridge Vineyards, Folio Fine Wines, Alysian and Tenuta Sassoregale, and craft cider from Virtue. The 2016 culinary cocktail program is stepping up with the return of the Perfect Manhattan Bar, Mezcal Expressions, the very special Smoked Old Fashioned featuring Breckenridge Bourbon, and the new Heritage Rum Cart featuring Rhum Clement. Additionally, VIP guests will enjoy Punch Kings featuring five top barkeeps in Cochon555’s spirited Punch Competition. More chefs and more tasty experiences will be announced with the Official Judge lineup 21 days in advance of the event.

“I’m excited about all the new partners in 2016 who support family farming and independent business. The Cochon555 Tour is now a movement, from hosting celebrated culinary events and dinners all over North America to reaching a global audience with the news of the first open-source agricultural model. The tour is dedicated to helping family farmers succeed, period,” saysfounder Brady Lowe. "This doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, and for the first time in human history, a culinary tour has emerged to save endangered species on a global scale. Together, with some of the best chefs and partners in hospitality, we amplify the conversation of heritage pork once again, which for many is a ‘gateway’ to a larger appreciation of where our food comes from and the people that raise it, leading to more mindful eating and safer food choices for our youth. We can’t wait to kick-off an amazing weekend in New York City with two dinners raising money for Piggy Bank, a 501(c)(3) project of the Giving Back Fund.”

On January 22, the weekend takeover commences with a pair of guest chef dinners to benefit Piggy Bank. These unique dinners bring together chefs, world-renowned winemakers, and beverage experts to create a multi-course, interactive dining experience where guests have the opportunity to interact with the participating chefs. On Friday, the tour will kick off with the Late Night Asian Speakeasy, an all-inclusive feast paying homage to Chinese, Sichuan, Korean, Thai, and Japanese after-hour establishments known to inspire great kitchens across the country. On Saturday, a refined three-hour culinary experience, the Chef’s Course Dinner Series, begins with a reception featuring a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a seated dinner and premium wine pairings. Both dinners will be limited to 40 seats each night, tickets will be available online at $125 per person and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Piggy Bank. Additionally, ticket buyers are welcome to sign-up for Chefs Course, Cochon555’s annual rewards program with over 100-plus restaurants participating nationwide

Industry News, Sustainability