What’s happening this weekend?

pig-01Cochon 555, May 31
Five pigs, Five Chefs, and Five winemakers (hence the 555) will be battling it out on Sunday at five o’clock at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, DC as the Taste Network from Atlanta is hosting Cochon 555, a heritage breed pig cook-off. Cochon 555 is the only national chef competition promoting heritage pigs and breed diversity. Through this event, the organizers hope to raise the profile of heritage pigs. As it may be new to some, heritage breeds have been around since before World War II, when pigs were raised outdoors. These pigs are raised “slowly, outdoors, and with great respect,” says Michael Yezzi, proprietor of Flying Pigs Farm in upstate New York. These prized piggies are said to be more flavorful due to the fat they gain an extra layer of fat due to being  outdoors in the winter. Heritage breeds produce pork that is darker, meatier, more tender, and more marbled than what is commonly available today.

For the friendly competion this weekend, the pigs are supplied by Eco Friendly Farms and five local chefs have been given a heritage pig and the challenge to prepare every inch of the beast, from head to toe, or “Whole Animal Cooking” in different ways for Sunday night’s gala.

Participating DC area Chefs are RJ Cooper of Vidalia, Brian McBride of Blue Duck Tavern, Jamie Leeds of Commonwealth Gastropub, and John Manolatos of Cashion’s Eat Place and Chef Stefanelli from Mio. In addition, five family-owned wineries will showcase their wines, including Miner Family Vineyards, Patz & Hall, Arcadian Winery, Pax Winery and Bonny Doon Vineyeards.

A team of 20 judges (including Dean Gold from Dino) will evaluate the dishes, but attendees are also asked to pick a favorite. The winner of the competition will be named the “Prince of Porc”. (Washington Post readers can purchase tickets for $80 — a discount off the $125 price — by using this link.)

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