5 pigs, 5 chefs, 1 winner - the return of cochon 555

by AJ Dronkers, Digital Editor CoCoSalaPig

This post is being updated for the upcoming Cochon 555 event taking place on Sunday, April 17 at the Loews Madison Hotel.

Cochon 555 is back! We loved Cochon 555 event so much that we are partnering with them again as they bring it back to DC. The event challenges five of our top local chefs to cook one whole, family farm-raised, heritage pig for a group of twenty notable judges. Come experience this one of-a-kind event!

The competing chefs:

  • Jennifer Carroll of the Requin
  • Anthony Lombardo of The Hamilton
  • Louis Goral of Rural Society
  • Jonah Kim of Yona
  • Marjorie Meek-Bradley of Ripple
  • Danny Lee of Mandu

Additional chefs:

  • Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground & Maketto

You can read our full recap (below) from Cochon 555 to get a sense for the incredible chefs, farms, drinks, and food!

Last Sunday, EdibleDC was thrilled to be the media sponsor of COCHON 555, a traveling cooking competition that pairs 5 local chefs and 5 local farmers who provide 5 heritage breed pigs for the event. The event brought out 500 fans ready to taste the delicious pork creations and vote for their favorite chef.


As a judge, I had the unique challenge of experiencing the "nose-to-tail" creations of each chef who were challenged to use every part of their heritage pig. First up, fitting since he has been in DC since 1984, Chef Jeffrey Buben, was paired with Faith Like A Mustard Seed Farm's Large Black pig. His southern inspired brunch creations included sunny-side egg, pineapple-onion marmalade, ham hollandaise and pork shoulder with pimento cheese grits!


Next up was the effervescent Chef Victor Albisu, who was paired with Autumn Olive Farm's Ossabaw pig. Dressed in a white coat, aviators, cigar and mojito gun he walked us through his "Swineface" themed menu. Notable standouts for me were the mojito marinated pork shoulder, rum soaked pineapple, mint and pickled chili taco and the Cuban midnight sandwich with Swiss cheese, espelette cured loin, pickle and yellow mustard.


Next up was Top Chef finalist, Chef Spike Mendelsohn, who also brought in friends Chef Mike Colletti, Chef Chris Kulis to help him roll out "Porgy's Last Brunch" theme. He was paired with Spring House Farm's Mulefoot pig.

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My favorites from Team Spike were the blood sausage with mascarpone grits, apple and fennel salad and the slow cooked bacon which was honey glazed and served with vanilla bourbon ice cream! Even though I'm doing my best to restrict my judging tastings to mere bites, some items demand seconds. At this point I'm starting to feel full--and there are still two chefs to go.


We have been anxiously awaiting Chef Jonah Kim's new restaurant concept, Yona, a collaboration with local chef and restauranteur Mike Isabella -- so getting an advance sampling of his cuisine and a preview of what might be on the menu at Yona was especially exciting.


The mini pork shoulder biscuit with Korean BBQ and cabbage was a palate pleaser, full of savory flavors. What was unusual and I loved was Chef Jonah's interpretation of a shabu-shabu like process where a raw pork leg was cooked when dipped into kimchi stew. The struggle to eat more is starting to get real but I down some libations and prepare for the final course!


Chef Danny Lee took home the prize that night with this Korean inspired meal -- in particular the bindaedduk pancake of tenderloin strips mixed with pureed mung and soy beans and the ground shoulder and cheek dumplings folded with house made skins were a delightful way to end the evening.



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Cochon 555 was a blast--and we learned a lot about the different types of heritage pigs, butchering and using whole animals with creative ways to cook absolutely every part of the pig! We can't wait for the return of this rowdy and delicious food competition.