JW Marriott Houston Downtown
Sunday, Feb. 8th
Cochon 555, the country’s most talked about culinary competition returns to celebrate family farms, heritage breed pigs and today’s emerging chef community. Attendees of this one-of-a-kind culinary competition embark on a journey to the new hyper-local culinary landscape, one whole pig at a time. The tour is aligned with the modern-day good food movement — notable chefs, barrier-breaking women, artist-like butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers and brazen pastry talent working together to prepare an epic feast celebrating responsible family farming. Going on its seventh year, Cochon 555 is regarded as the nation’s most flavorful culinary event, from entry to exit, each bite is specially designed to win over the public.
The second stop on the tour, Cochon 555 Houston features five chefs cooking five pigs in a friendly competition for a cause. This year’s competing chefs include Erin Smith of Main Kitchen – Official Host Chef, Ronnie Killen of Killen’s BBQ, Brandi Key of Punk’s Simple Southern Food, Mark Decker of Down House and Ryan Pera of Coltivare. The five chefs, champions to whole hog utilization, will prepare a maximum of six dishes with hopes to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. The winner goes on to compete for the title of “King or Queen of Porc” at the tour finale, Grand Cochon at Snowmass/Aspen in June and rewarded with a 4-day wine experience in Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region.
In this year’s lineup, Cochon 555 has set its sights on a new player for their 10-city tour. Houston, which has cultivated one of the best culinary scenes in the country, continues to build an impressive reputation that cannot be ignored. As Houston’s dining scene continues to grow, ethical diversity is at the forefront with culinary choices that represent more than 70 countries and American regions across 10,000 restaurants. According to Zagat, Houstonians dine out more than residents of any other city – 4.1 times per week, compared with the national average of 3.1. Cochon 555 has noticed this vast landscape of Houston’s emerging culinary scene. With a variety of chefs that are producing cuisine fed by a diversity of culture, Brady Lowe, Founder of Cochon 555, recognized the behind-the-scenes talent in this elevated food market and saw the need to include the great city of Houston in this year’s competition.
“We are excited to welcome the Cochon555 tour to Houston. This epic culinary experience coming to Houston is further validation of our position as one of the great food cities in the world” said Holly Clapham, vice president of marketing for the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. “As a new sponsor for Cochon’s 10-city tour, we are particularly enthusiastic about Houston’s participation as it’s recognized for its breadth of cuisine and cultural influence as a new food capital.”
The Houston version of this fairy-tale heritage pork experience will include more than 36 chef-prepared dishes in an all-inclusive stand up reception with notable tastings from Wines of Germany and St. Francis Wines. Cochon’s “pop-up” culinary experiences include Wines of Rioja Tapas Bar spotlighting a chef and perfect slices of artisan cured Prosciutto di Parma. Upon arrival, guests will enjoy Buffalo Trace’s “Welcome Punch Reception” paired with delicious bites from La Brea Bakery. Attendees will sample foods at signature experiences like the Artisan Cheese Shop with Houston Dairymaids, Rappahannock Oyster Shelf featuring Liberty Kitchen & Oyster Bar and the infamous TarTare Bar featuring Creekstone Farms. Bourbon and whiskey lovers rejoice with the return of the “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, and Breckenridge Bourbon finished with Luxardo cherries in this hand-prepared classic topped with a special treat from Creminelli. Guests of VIP can enjoy samples from five of the city’s best barkeeps as they compete in Punch Kings – the tour’s whole bottle “meats” golden gloves competition, featuring Breckenridge Bourbon.
We are proud to announce the return of the Pop-Up Butcher Shop with the support of Williams-Sonoma – a live butchering demonstration with Andrew Vaserfirer of Revival Market, raising money for the supporting culinary school. New sponsors in 2015 include Visit Houston featuring a notable chef tasting, and PANNA’s new Simmer app. Finally, before the awards ceremony, the signature “Swine & Sweets” course will be served followed by a spotlight Awards Toast and announcement of the winner
On Friday February 6th, the weekend takeover commences with the Chef’s Course Dinner, a seated five-course dinner prepared by five guest chefs featuring the Wines of Germany. On Saturday, the Large Format “PDC” Dinner spotlights a prominent steakhouse and St. Francis Winery paired with Creekstone Farms. Enthusiasts who register early for VIP tickets can sign-up for a wine seminar from Wines of Germany with a special guest speaker.
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