Pig porn from Cochon 555, aka the Super Bowl of Swine

Cochon555chefs.jpg
Lori Midson
Cochon 555 chefs Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson, Kelly Liken, Alex Seidel, Frank Bonanno and Jennifer Jasinski
Lard, have mercy on my soul. To say that I pigged out this weekend is the understatement of the year, and if I was porky before, you should see me now. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I single-handedly took "hog wild" to a whole new level of oink.

And for that, I blame Cochon 555, the porkerific traveling pig stomp that hoofs its way through various cities in America, pitting five chefs in each metropolis against one another in a friendly battle for swine supremacy -- namely the Prince or Princess of Porc. Yesterday, the pig show stopped at the Ritz-Carlton, where five Denver chefs, paired with farmers who raise heritage breed pigs, vied for the portly prize -- and for me and 22 other people, all of whom were judges, that meant swelling our bellies with more pig than you can possibly even begin to imagine.

The chefs -- 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) -- were each given a heritage breed pig in advance: Bonanno was handed a Berkshire pig, Seidel a Swabian Hall, Liken a Hereford, Jasinski a Red Wattle and MacKinnon-Patterson a Mulefoot.

And then the chefs went hog wild, turning out plate after plate, bite after bite of swoon-worthy swine, which they often paired with a pork-lubricated cocktail. We all sat, sequestered from the main floor, at a huge table draped with a white tablecloth and littered with bottles of wine from five excellent winemakers. Every fifteen minutes or so, a chef would walk through the doors, followed by an entourage of assistants rolling speed racks, to explain and serve their dishes. Some of the chefs were all business, while others, like Seidel, waltzed in with a glass of bourbon -- and bantered. Brady Lowe, the founder of Cochon 555, gave the judges a snort of sage advice: "Pace yourselves," he warned, "or else you'll break out in pork sweats tomorrow." He was right -- on both counts.

When the feast came to a finale, Seidel was named the Prince of Porc, and after grasping the trophy for less than a second, he passed it off to the badass team that helped him win -- Matt Vawter and Blake Edmunds, both from Fruition; Jeff Osaka, the chef/owner of twelve and Lon Symensma, chef/owner of ChoLon. Talk about a class act. Seidel will be at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen in June to compete in the Grand Cochon, where just one chef will waddle away with the final crown and the "King of Porc" title.

In the meantime, last night was an epic food event of piggish proportions, and we, of course, brought back the piggy food porn.

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5 comments
Kevin Powell
Kevin Powell

Thanks Lori for the blow by blow account of the Denver Cochon 555 evening since I was not able to attend. I am honored to have been the supplier of the Mulefoot hog for this event.

KSMeathead
KSMeathead

It's Tuesday morning and I still haven't eaten anything but an orange after this pigout. All the food was great, all the chefs (except one) were really friendly and willing to answer my questions. Brady-Bring Cochon 555 back to Denver next year!

Silvereyes819
Silvereyes819

Should have been Kelly Liken! Did you taste that bacon studded waffle with the bacon caramel, maple ice cream, and cinnamon chiccarones? Yum!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

It was an awesome event. All the chefs put out fantastic dishes. A night to be remembered!

Elmer
Elmer

Jasinski was robbed.

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