Yesterday the 2019 Cochon555 tour made a stop in Chicago and….we pigged out! Literally!! The nation’s acclaimed culinary, wine, and spirit celebration in support of charity and education is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this year. There were more than one hundred prominent chefs, farmers, sommeliers, distillers, brewers and barkeeps working together at the event to create luxurious moments to educate our palate. The goal of Cochon555 is to raise the bar on building a sustainable and profitable relationship for brands and chefs participating in culinary festivals. Every event is a fundraiser for Cochon555’s sister charity, 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). At yesterday’s Chicago Cochon555 participants and attendee’s raised $4,200 for Piggy Bank.
The Chicago leg of the tour “prince of pork” winner was Chef Daniel Espinoza from the restaurant Cantina Laredo. Chef Espinoza will be competing against nine other chefs at a head-to-tail showdown at the Grand Cochon finale on September 15th in Chicago. Chef Espinoza amazed the crowed with several dishes:
Tostada de Queso de Puerco – Black beans, salsa cruda, cabbage, pork fat lime vinaigrette
Pozole Verde – Hominy, radish, salsa Macha
Carnitas Guacasalsa – Pickled jalapeno escabeche, chicharron, tortilla
Chorizo Verde – Cured cactus salad, cotija, gigante beans in Avocado leaf
Pork Pepita Roulade – Dark pig blood mole, sesame and pepita crumble
Flan de Piloncillo Tocino – Pickled rhubarb, cinnamon sugar chicharron
Running in tandem with the tour were a pair of internal competitions. Punch Kings presented by El Tesoro Tequila, a whole bottle spirit competition featuring the city’s top barkeeps in a hand-crafted punch challenge and Somm Smackdown, a face-off of the nation’s top sommeliers pairing the best wine with heritage pig. The winner of the Punch Kings competition was Beverage Manager, Johnny Contraveos of the bar About Last Knife inside the Hotel Julian. His drink was called “Solar Vortex” and contained: El Tesoro Blanco Tequila, Pink Guava, Hibiscus Piloncillo Syrup, Acidulated Pineapple Juice, and Spiced Falemum. The winner of the Somm Smackdown was Sommelier Jillian Riley from Nomi Kitchen. She represented wine from the Red Tail Ridge Winery.
I have so much fun at Cochon each year! Check out my other highlights below. Save the date for the Grand Cochon Finale on September 15th in Chicago. To find out more about Cochon555 head to https://cochon555.com/ and follow them on Instagram and Twitter @Cochon555. To find out more about Piggy Bank visit www.piggy-bank.org and follow them on Instagram and Twitter @PiggyBankOrg.
Tavi J. 2019 Chicago Cochon555 Highlights
Punch Kings Competition! I had the hardest time deciding which cocktail was my favorite. They were all so yummy!
Fantastic Bites from the 5 Chefs Competing
Diplomatico Rum Cocktails
Champagne and Wine Pours!
See YOU at the Grand Cochon Finale on September 15th in Chicago!
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