Cochon 555 names the five Colorado chefs battling for swine supremacy in Denver in April

Categories: Cafe Society

Lori Midson
Which little piggy will take home the top prize at Cochon 555?

In exactly 37 days, the third US Tour of Cochon 555, a nationwide traveling pork orgy that spotlights five local chefs, five heritage breed piggies and five winemakers, will hoof it to Denver, taking over a yet-to-be-determined parcel of pig-appropriate landscape, wherein the chefs will go tongue-to-trotter in an epic battle for the title of prince (or princess) of pork.

And Colorado's participating chefs -- the Chosen Ones -- are all names that you'll recognize.

Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bisto Vendome); Kelly Liken (Restaurant Kelly Liken); Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson (Frasca Food & Wine, Pizzeria Locale and Caffe); Alex Seidel (Fruition and Fruition Farms); and Frank Bonanno (Bones, Green Russell, Luca d'Italia, Lou's Food Bar, Mizuna and Osteria Marco) have all been tapped to trot out their pig-centric prowess on April 3.

"I looked for a group of food champions who support local agriculture, and I was lucky to find a group of men and women who are both changing the food system and are leading the path of culinary cuisine. They're putting local food first," says Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe, who started the nationwide pig jaunt three years ago.

This is the first year that Cochon 555 has traveled to the Mile High City, but according to Lowe, the time was fertile for a Denver pig stomp. "I was inspired by Colorado and the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen to look at the front range and discover what's happening in Colorado on the cuisine front," he explains."There are such amazing chefs there right now that Denver was such a shoo-in to be one of our newest cities this year."

The heritage breed pigs, all of which are approximately 150 pounds each, aren't the typical bacon and sausage you'll see on your breakfast plate at the local diner. These are special pigs, the kind that provide serious challenges to the chefs, none of whom know exactly which particular breed of pig they're going to get. Seidel, though, is getting a head start. "I'm getting a pig next week, so I can start practicing," he told me earlier this week.

Lowe is keeping the chef-and-pig pairings under wraps -- "We want a little surprise for the chefs," he says -- but we do know that Seidel, et al. will be working with a Hereford from TenderBelly, a very rare Meishan, also from TenderBelly and a Berkshire from Newman Farms Berkshire.

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Too bad they are using all California, Oregon or Washington winemakers.

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