James Wampler of Proof & Provisions (ATL) wins Punch Kings “Last Call” and Rachel Driver-Speckan of City Winery (CHI) wins the Sommelier Smackdown, and Over $5,652 Raised for Charity

(Credit: Galdones Photography)

CHICAGO, IL (October 2nd, 2017) — The flagship event of Cochon555’s weekend, Grand Cochon, featured 13 chefs competing for the crown with 39 best bites from across the country. These winning dishes were served to the sold-out crowd of more than 700 pork-loving epicureans and 30 celebrity judges who voted for their favorite bites, including “2012 King of Porc” Jason Vincent of Giant, Zac Young of Craveable Hospitality, Abe Conlon of Fat Rice, Greg O’Neill of Pastoral, Andres Padilla of Topolobampo, and Nicole Pederson of Found Kitchen, amongst other notable food celebrities. Together they crowned Jonathan Granada of Otium in Los Angeles the King of Porc and National Champion. The winner walked away with a 4-day wine experience in Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region, gifts from Williams-Sonoma, and a Pro Series Grill from Traeger. Grand Cochon was part of a weekend including epic events that benefitted Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making dedicated to supporting heritage breed pig farmers with free genetics and financial know-how, including business plans posted online. To view photos and videos of the event, click here:
Representing an array of cultures, cities and cooking styles, each of the 13 chefs were tasked with preparing at least three bites of heritage breed pig from the whole-animal menu they created to win their respective cities. The 2017 competing chefs of Grand Cochon included, Nicole Gajadhar of Saxon + Parole (NYC), Grae Nonas (MPS), Kaelin Ulrich Trilling (NASH), Will Nolan of Viceroy Snowmass (DEN), Paula DaSilva of Burlock Coast Seafare & Spirits at The Ritz-Carlton (MIA), Ricardo Jarquin of Travelle (CHI), Mitch Mayers of Lark (SEA), Manabu ‘Hori’ Horiuchi of Kata Robata (HOU), Jordan Keao of āina Restaurant (SF), Drew Van Leuvan of Seven Lamps (ATL), Kosta Kontogiannis of Kingbird Restaurant (WDC), Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis (AUS) and Grand Cochon winner Jonathan Granada of Otium (LA). The chefs prepared show-stopping dishes using whole heritage breed pigs but it was Chef Jonathan’s plate that won the event with a Gloucester Old Spot breed of pig raised by Step Ladder Creamery & Farm. Chef Jonathan created a winning menu of three delicious bites including Confit Pork Belly with Caviar, Fried Sunchoke, and Stinging Nettle Bechamel, Crepinette with Truffle, Celery Root, Black Rice Chicharron and Parmesan, and to close, Pork Shoulder Vin Jaune and Potato Fondant.
The fairy-tale heritage pork event included dozens of competition plates served alongside artisan wines, boutique spirits, handcrafted cocktails, and some of the best cheeses, charcuterie, sweets, and pop-up food experiences the country has to offer. Brought to life through sponsors, guests enjoyed highlights such as the Tartare Bar with Antica Napa Valley and Josh Pollack of Rosenberg’s (DEN), Royal’s Oaks Natural Charcoal “Dirty Steak” Tomahawk Bar led by Cory Morris of Boleo (CHI), Perfect Puree’s #SprinkleBae Dessert Experience with Celebrity Pastry Chef Zac Young (NYC), a special burger pop-up from Shake Shack, a delicious bite from Cheesemonger Invitational Summer 2017’s Winner Jordan Edwards of Pastoral Artisan featuring Cypress Grove; and a sophisticated scotch experience in the Glenfiddich Experimental Dome. Rachel Driver-Speckan of City Winery Chicago won the Somm Smackdown featuring five sommeliers from around the country, and James Wampler of Proof & Provisions (ATL) took top honors at Punch Kings ”Last Call,” a punch competition.
“It was an honor to bring these incredibly talented chefs from all over the country to Chicago to support the good food movement,” says Brady Lowe, Founder of Cochon555. “A big thanks to all our hosting chefs and partners in Chicago, and a much-deserved congratulations to our 2017 King of Porc, Chef Jonathan Granada of Otium. Together, we’re putting the spotlight on education, responsible agriculture, and the amazing health and social benefits of working with heritage breeds from family farmers. We were so proud to have Chicago as the centerpiece of our largest event of the year – it truly is the country’s premiere dining city. With events like this, we continue to put the spotlight on heritage species and responsible agriculture through our work with amazing chefs, sponsors, farmers and their teams.”
Grand Cochon was a culinary weekend filled with rare tastes, education, all-inclusive drink experiences and inspiration. Community is an integral part of the Cochon555 culinary fabric and it would not be possible without the help of our sponsors and partners. A huge thank you to: Glenfiddich, Breckenridge Bourbon, Poached Jobs, Williams-Sonoma, House of Angostura, Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, Courvoisier, Wines from Rioja, Traeger Grills, DRY Sparkling, La Brea Bakery, Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, High West, Bayou Rum, Royal Oak Charcoal, John Boos & Co., Rhum Clement, Creminelli, Divina, Three Little Pigs, Luxardo, BeerHoptacular, Woodford Reserve, Antica Napa Valley, Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars, Scholium Project, Kosta Browne, CIRQ, Pax Wine Cellars, Wines of the World, Azzurro Wine Company, Kobalt Wines, Sabatino Tartufi, Savile Row, Cypress Grove, Birchware, Industry Juice, Yelp, Mint Management and WSJ+.
About the Cochon555 US Tour
The Cochon555 US 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 20 major cities in North America annually and stages over 60 events. The tour is comprised of an array of live expressions including Heritage Fire (live-fire); Heritage BBQ (global grilling cultures); and Grand Cochon (national whole-hog championship). Cochon555 cultivates a long-term impact for heritage species, raised by family farms in top culinary markets in North America. Both educational and inspirational messages are circulated among 16,000 guests; 2,200+ chefs; 150+ family farms; and 16 culinary schools. Since 2009, 50,000+ consumers have experienced heritage pork for the first time, more than $500,000 has been donated to charities, and over $750,000 has been paid directly to our farmers. For more details and videos of events, visit or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.
About Piggy Bank
Launched in 2015, Piggy Bank is creating a farming sanctuary for heritage breed pigs, many of which are endangered. Piggy Bank will provide genetics and access to shared business plans for raising heritage pigs to emerging family farms. Piggy Bank aims to change the future of food by creating a community in which small farmers can learn about safer, more responsible practices and share genetics, livestock, and the very information needed to thrive as small businesses. Piggy Bank is building a model of socially responsible agricultural transparency. Piggy Bank proudly operates as a project of the Trust for Conservation Innovation, a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization which accelerates impact for initiatives focused on protecting and fostering a healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable world. For more information or to donate, visit or follow @PiggyBankOrg on Twitter. Watch the video