After an epic afternoon feasting on over 1,500 pounds of heritage breed pork raised on family farms, almost 600 guests, including chefs, somms, barkeeps, and notable judges, gathered at Cochon555 LA with full glasses to toast the Los Angeles “Prince of Pork” Brian Rezikowski of Kettner Exchange. Chef Redzikowski and his team presented a magnificent menu utilizing one whole Berkshire pig raised by Cooks Pigs Ranch. Cochon555 Emcee Billy Harris bestowed the winning chef with the regional title. Chef Redzikowski will represent Los Angeles at Grand Cochon, the national finale on September 15 in Chicago. Alongside Jessie Smyth, the head bartender at Genever who took home the trophy for Punch Kings, Cochon555’s spirit competition.
The event raised $2,480 from the Pop-up Butcher and Silent Auction, for Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kickstarter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster (flood, fire and disease).
To win the culinary competition, more than 30 dishes featuring heritage breed pig were presented by this year’s five competing chefs. This year’s competing chefs included Brian Redzikowski of Kettner Exchange, Jason Mattick & Ivan Marquez of B.S. Taqueria-Broken Spanish, David Johns of Mason, Kat Hu & Justin Yi of Hock + Hoof, and Ben Diaz of Nixo Lounge at Luxe City Center Hotel. To win the trophy, Chef Redzikowski presented a richly flavored and balanced menu of six dishes to guests and celebrity judges. The winning menu included: Vietnamese Pork Loin with Kohlrabi, Pickled Daikon, Hoisin, and Cilantro; Cured Ham Potato Fritter with Bonito Flake, Scallion, and Eel Sauce; Crispy Rice Salad with Pork Butt, Peanut, Onion, Bean Sprout, Fish Sauce and Lime; Biscuit & Gravy with Maple Syrup and Tabasco; Pig Mac Bao with Pork Belly, Lettuce, Pickle, Caviar and Special Sauce; and to end on a sweet note, Chunky Monkey with Banana Ice Cream, Bacon Infused Chocolate, Walnuts and Smoked Ham Carmel. Guests ate in celebration of a great cause while listening to music by DJ Ohla.
Cochon555 also hosted two beverage competitions this year. Punch Kings presented by El Tesoro Tequila (video), a spirit competition featuring five top barkeeps faced with a challenge of making a whole-bottle punch for a panel of 6 notable judges. Jessie Smyth, of Genever won Punch Kings with her Guava and Spice and Everything Nice, combining El Tesoro™ Blanco Tequila, The Perfect Purée Pink Guava, Black Pepper & Sage “Tea” Oleo Saccharum and Fresh Lime Juice. In Somm Smackdown presented by Wines of Bordeaux and Germany, a wine competition featuring five top sommeliers who select a favorite wine to pair with dishes presented by five competing chefs, Mandy Woodward ofOtium took the trophy with her Florent Cosme, 2017 Vouvray Demi-Sec ‘Champs Routes from Loire, France and her Pessac-Léognan, 2015 Latour-Martillac Blanc from Bordeaux, France. Additional competing somms and barkeeps included: Nathaniel Muñoz of Bar Avalon, Elizabeth Kelso of Craft, Kristen Radziecki of Bourbon Steak and Suzanne Denevan-Brown of Wine Dialogues by E&J Gallo who rounded out the Somm Smackdown competition and Megan Barton of Blinking Owl, Janet Kim of Alice, Sunny Lam of Here & Now, and Katie Carson of Hock+Hoof who presented hand-crafted punches for the spirits competition
Communal feasting is an integral part of Cochon555; the events are theaters for innovative spirit, wine, and cocktail experiences — all in, a 40-course gourmet tasting menu taken standing up with endless wines and hand-crafted cocktails. Guests started the event by exploring our signature Cheese Bar curated by DTLA along with a stunning selection of Rosés from Chateau D’Esclans, fresh organic bites from Bona Fortuna, and pairings at the TarTare Bar prepared by Chef Ian Gresik of The Arbour aligned to the wines of Antica Napa Valley and tasted through the stunning portfolio of Sassoregale paired with Chef John Lechleidner of WP24, Wine Dialogues, Riboli Family Wines paired with Chef Wilson Santos of Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Azzuro Wine Company, Wines of Bordeaux and Germany paired with Chef Ricardo Zarate of Pikoh and Nielson Wines paired with Chef Eric Mickle of Orange Hill. Guests also sipped sparklers from LaCroix Sparkling Water, refreshed their palates with Essentia Water, and enjoyed inventive cocktails from Black Cow, Santa Teresa Rum, Makers Mark, and Wheatley Vodka with ThePerfect Puree of Napa Valley along with the Manhattan Project featuring premium bourbons from Eagle Rare and Buffalo Trace topped with Luxardo cherries. People enjoyed neat tastings from the Westland Distilling and Whiskey Five featuring Bulleit Bourbon, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Singleton, Buchanan and more. Guests also learned about Australian BBQ Grills with Everdure by Heston and those wanting a sweet bite with a savory twist enjoyed innovative desserts spotlighting notable pastry chefs working with Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Placing the spotlight on “knowing where your food comes from”, the event featured an educational whole animal butchery program called the Pop-Up Butcher Shop with Electric City Butcher, Michael Puglisi and a Silent Auction with gifts from chefs, sponsors and John Boos & Co., to benefit sister charity, Piggy Bank. As the Official Card of Cochon555 Los Angeles, Citi cardmembers received a gift by flashing their Citi Credit Card or Citibank Debit Card.
About the Cochon555 Tour
The Cochon555 Tour executes a yearly host of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs through an innovative nose-to-tail pig cooking competition. This epic pork feast visits 14 major cities in North America annually. The tour is comprised of an array of live expressions and cultivates a long-term impact for heritage species. Both educational and inspirational messages are circulated among 16,000 guests; 2,200+ chefs; 150+ family farms; and culinary schools each year. Since 2009, 108,000+ consumers have experienced heritage pork for the first time, more than $1,100,000 has been donated to charities, and over $1,200,000 has been paid directly to our farmers. For more information, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.