Cochon 555, the nationwide pork-apalooza celebrating heritage pigs through a nose-to-tail cooking competition, returns to Miami. This time, the competition will storm the beach, where chefs will take over the Ritz-Carlton South Beach Sunday, March 26, for this spectacle of eating and drinking.
Five chefs will each be given a 200-pound heritage-breed pig and one week to create six dishes each using the whole animal. They will be judged by a panel of 20 culinary experts who will rate not only the overall flavor of each dish but also the chefs' resourcefulness in using the whole hog, as well as their creative process. One winner will be crowned Miami's "Prince or Princess of Porc."
To complement the pork battle, the Somm Smackdown will challenge five local sommeliers to find the ultimate wine/pig pairing. For guests into mixed drinks, Punch Kings will bring in five of the top bartenders to duke it out for the tastiest, most original cocktail punch creation. Other goodies available to sample include farmhouse cheeses, a salami snack bar, and gourmet butter.
Chef Diego Oka of La Mar by Gaston Acurio won last year's competition by cooking a Large Black breed of pig, thought to have originated in China and taken to England. The pork is hailed for its tender and lean meat that is micromarbled, producing a fantastic flavor. Chef Oka's winning menu included pan con chicharrón and chaufa tacu tacu.
Asked what was the highlight of last year's competition, Oka had a difficult time choosing just one. "Showcasing and cooking a product that people cannot see in your restaurant and learning about pork and the pork industry. Gathering and sharing moments with other people in the industry is fun too. Cochon 555 for sure is one of the most fun food events in the U.S. I can’t wait to see who will win this year. It's going to be great!" Oka said.
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The competition will take place at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach (1 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) Sunday, March 26, from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets cost $125 for general admission, with entry at 5 p.m. VIP tickets ($200) include early entry at 4 p.m. A bespoke combo ticket ($400) includes a multicourse charity dinner on Saturday evening (location to be announced) and 3:30 p.m. early admission to Cochon 555 Sunday plus a private tasting.
A portion of all proceeds will go to Piggy Bank, Cochon 555's charity benefiting family farms. To purchase tickets, visit cochon555.com.