This weekend, Cochon555 is set to return to Miami for an evening of pork and booze.
The annual event, which will take place at the 1 Hotel South Beach from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 10, features five new chefs — including Pubbelly's Jose Mendin and Beaker & Gray's Brian Nasajon — along with winemakers, bakers, and barkeeps, to create an innovative lineup of pork-centric food and drinks.
The evening is meant to raise awareness about heritage-breed pigs and sustainable and socially responsible farming, according to founder Brady Lowe.
"We celebrate the small family farmer who works hard to raise pigs responsibly and sustainably," he says. "The event teaches respect of the animal from head to toe. Our efforts help farmers find customers, and chefs find safer food to feed their customers."
Along with Mendin and Nasajon, the other competing chefs, who have five days to break down and cook a 200-plus-pound hog to create six dishes for this Sunday, are Ariete's Michael Beltran, Cantina La Veinte's Santiago Gomez, and 3030 Ocean's Adrienne Grenier.
The fare will be paired with boutique wines and handcrafted cocktails. The chefs will be judged on technique and flavor, and the winner, dubbed "Prince(cess) of Porc," will go on to compete for the national title of "King or Queen of Porc" at Grand Cochon September 30 in Chicago. At the same time, five sommeliers will compete in the Somm Smackdown, which awards the evening's best wine pairing, while five bartenders battle in a whole-bottle punch-bowl competition.
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Expect pop-ups too, including a cheese bar; a salami, charcuterie, and pâté station; a tartare bar stocked with truffles and foie gras; a bakery with numerous sweets; and a butcher shop.
Lowe's 11-city pork tour benefits Piggy Bank, a charitable foundation he launched in 2015 to create an open-source agriculture model for family farming.
"We want to preserve heritage and nurture culinary traditions," he says. "It'll take years, but together we will rebuild our community around local, safe, and honest food. This is where traditions will truly be established."