CHEF ALBERT PONZO OF LE SÉLECT BISTRO WINS HERITAGE BBQ BY COCHON 555 IN TORONTO HIGHLIGHTS AND PHOTOS FROM THE GLOBAL BBQ EVENT AT TORONTO FOOD & WINE
Notable chefs and farmers worked together to spotlight global BBQ grilling traditions and old world cooking techniques at North America’s hyper-local culinary tour this past weekend in Toronto
(September 22, 2015) – On Friday, Chef Albert Ponzo of Le Select was announced the King of Heritage BBQ, by cooking a breed of Large Black from Townsend Farm at a friendly culinary competition promoting heritage breed pigs and global grilling cultures. The winning menu included a Large Black BBQ Shoulder Fregola, Salsiccia don Pachengo with Percorina, Damson Plum and Sausage, Porceddu Pork Belly with Coppa and Myrtle, Zuppa Blood-ark Clam Juice with Prawn, Rib and Wild fennel, Insalata Agrodolce with Testina, Burnt Orange and Bottarga and to conclude, a Heritage Cannoli with a Smoked Fat Ricotta. Photos from the event and winning menu can be found here (http://j.mp/TORBBQPICS). The festival weekend kicked off in style with a dinner of EPIC proportions at Parts & Labor where 10 chefs, paired with 10 pigs from St Canut Farms served 100 guests to the sounds plated up by DJ Lord of Public Enemy, to see the photos from the EPIC dinner, click here (http://j.mp/EPICPICS).
Cochon555’s Heritage BBQ is an event that rebuilds our perception of BBQ and starts our journey back to its roots by showcasing the original context of BBQ, which meant local meats, cooked with native spices, over fires and shared with a community. The series of event focuses on the message of tilting the scales in favor of building a long-term relationship for family farms and big commodity meat buyers like BBQ restaurants.
This year’s competing chefs included Matty Matheson of Parts & Labour, Nick Liu of DaiLo Restaurant, Mitchell Bates of Momofuku Shōtō, Matt Basile of Fidel Gastro, yet it was winner Albert Ponzo of Le Sélect Bistro who took top honors with his Sardinian BBQ inspired menu. Each chef was given a whole heritage breed pig raised on a local family farm, and in seven days they had to work with their teams to present a “Judge’s Plate” consisting of six dishes scored on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques and overall flavor. The winner in Toronto was crowned the “BBQ King” and took home more than $3,000 in prizes, including a Dream Bar from Wilsonart, exclusive bar tools and cookware from Williams-Sonoma, alongside a large supply of premium whiskey, ryes and bourbons.
In addition to sampling the competitor’s dishes, guests enjoyed Cochon 555’s spotlight called “BBQ Traditions”, an epic tasting inside the event where notable chefs prepared one dish from their favorite BBQ culture like Hibachi, Char Siu, Barbacoa, Asado, Satay or even regional American BBQ styles. Hidde Zomer of Carbon Bar prepared Char Siu, Aidan Galligan of Uncle Smoke BBQ Company prepared Lexington BBQ, Peter Sanagan of Sanagan’s Meat Locker prepared German Spiessbraten, Matt Jennings of Townsman prepared Asador, Rocco Agostina of Pizzeria Libretto prepared Braai from South Africa, Scott Vivian of Beast prepared Hibachi. There was also Vittorio Colacitti of The Good Son, Jesse Vallins and Julia Clabassi of The Saint Tavern, Brad Long of Café Belong, Roger Mooking of Twist, and Ben Denham of Electric Mud/Grand Electric prepared their favorite global bites. One of the most memorable and visual dishes of the day was prepared by John Horne of Canoe, who prepared a Cedar Infused St Canut Farms Yorkshire Suckling Pig Asado Style with Cattail Bannock, Crabapple Piccalilli, Carrot Tops and Juniper Mayo.
The all-inclusive stand up tasting event included 1,400+ pounds of heritage pig, “pop-up” culinary experiences, premium wines, artisan cheeses, sustainable seafood, hand-crafted spirits, fine cocktails, and a very impressive selection of whiskies, ryes and bourbon. The stunning lineup of sponsors behind this celebration of heritage species included a local butcher demo with Chris Terpstra from Sanagan’s Meat Locker and Donato Artisan Farm and Wilsonart’s “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, JP Wiser’s Whisky and Luxardo cherries. Everyone enjoyed a stellar lineup of tastings from Wines from Rioja, True North Salmon prepared by Chef Michael Hunter, cocktails and non-alcoholic options from DRY Soda, brews from Birra Moretti, cocktails and neat tastings from Woodford Reserve and JP Wiser’s Whisky, in addition to an array of amazing cheeses from Dairy Farmers of Canada and a stunning ice cream dessert course courtesy of Ace Bakery. A portion of the proceeds benefitted the local culinary school and Piggy-Bank.org while building opportunities for local family farms.
The weekend kicked-off on Thursday, September 17 with an EPIC Cochon dinner at Parts & Labour hosted by Chef Matty Matheson and Brady Lowe of Cochon555. The once-in-a-lifetime culinary event featured dishes prepared by Chef Matheson, Danny Smiles of Le Bremner, Emma Cardarelli of Nora Gray, Connie DeSousa and John Jackson of Char | Cut Roast House, Jose Mendin of Pubbelly, Erik Anderson of Brut, Jason Franey of 1883, Jason Vincent the 2012 “King of Porc” and Michael Hunter of Antler.
“It’s was amazing to host our first event Canada; Toronto is a city full of socially conscious people and a demographic we truly identify with” said Cochon founder Brady Lowe. “With the launch of our new charity, Piggy Bank, we couldn’t pick a better partner than Toronto Food & Wine to kick-off our new cause and message that family farms are still the minority group that needs our support. Toronto was the perfect market to start the Heritage BBQ five-city tour, a big thank you to Judy Merry and the whole team at Toronto Food & Wine for hosting an awesome weekend of events. It was such an amazing turnout and I’m truly honored to have collaborated with the team at Informa, a group of amazing chefs, sponsors and farmers who were so receptive to the flavors, charity and cause.”
About Heritage BBQ by COCHON 555
Started in 2012 in an effort to bridge the gap between family farms and all categories of BBQ restaurants, Heritage BBQ by Cochon 555, is the first national BBQ competition dedicated to supporting a new direction for heritage breed pigs by expanding the conversation to a global economy. Created by Cochon 555 Founder Brady Lowe, Heritage BBQ engages existing BBQ restaurants in the local and sustainable food conversation taking place nationwide while simultaneously breaking ground on a new hyper-local, globally-themed, farm-supporting BBQ.
About The Cochon US Tour
The Cochon US Tour executes a variety of unique, local food events that are focused on raising enthusiasm for supporting family farms with the world’s first environmentally conscious nose-to-tail pig competition. The flagship Cochon 555 event is celebrated as the world’s first nose-to-tail pig competition in the fine-dining community. Created in response to the lack of consumer education around “heritage breed pigs”, this epic pork feast visits 20 major cities in North America annually. The US Tour also includes other live-event festivals, these focused culinary expressions include Heritage BBQ (global cultures), Heritage Fire (live-fire event), EPIC Cochon (hyper-premium), and Cochon Island (agri-tourism). The events feature top chefs preparing locally raised heritage breed proteins. Together with winemakers, brewers, distillers and craft food champions, they create authentic culinary events celebrating the good food movement. Since its launch, the tour has supported responsible family farming by sharing heritage breed pig experience with over 50,000, by donating more than $450,000 to charities and culinary schools, and buying more than $1,000,000 in food raised by local farmers. For more details about the events, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter.