I am so honored to be one of the twenty chef judges of Cochon 555 at the Viceroy Hotel here in Santa Monica this Sunday, March 29, 2015. Cochon is traveling culinary competition that promotes sustainable farming of heritage pigs. I’ll be tasting the nose-to-tail delicacies of some of Los Angeles’ top chefs. The good news is you can come join in the fun and have a vote too! Click here for tickets.

Terrine’s Chef Kris Morningstar, Tony DiSalvo from CAST, Walter Maznke of Republique, The Church Key’s Steven Fretz, and celebrity Chef Ricardo Zarate will all compete for the title of Prince of Porc. Then in June, all ten Prince and Princesses of Porc from across the US will compete for King or Queen at the Grand Cochon tour finale in Aspen, Colorado.

Competing for Prince of Pork

Competing for Prince of Porc

For those of us living an urban lifestyle there is often a huge disconnect between the food on our plates, and the source of that food. Cochon 555 aims to help bridge that gap in this ten-city tour uniting local responsible family farmers, renowned chefs, prominent winemakers, restaurateurs, brewers, distillers and the pork loving public in a stand-up tasting reception format as part of the good food movement.

Nose-to-tail: Celebrity Chef Tila

Nose-to-tail: Celebrity Chef Tila

So what are heritage pigs? Before farming became industrialized in the 1980’s, farmers generally kept a handful of singular breeds. These pasture roaming animals foraged for their food which resulted in particularly tasty meat, bacon, and lard, but they didn’t fare well within the confines of industrialized hog farms, so they fell out of favor, and eventually became endangered. Watch the video below to learn more.

As concerns have grown over the humane treatment, food and health safety issues related to raising livestock in confined spaces, many local family farms have turned back to the kind of responsible, sustainable farming practices heritage pigs (and our environment) can thrive within. That’s good news for the consumer, since heritage pork (while varying greatly between breeds) tends to have a much fuller bodied flavor than the  bland “white meat” factory farmed hogs yield.

Cochon 555

Cochon 555

“The LA version of Cochon 555 includes tastings of 36 chef-prepared dishes, “pop-up” culinary experiences, a Bacon Hall of Fame, BBQ Traditions, Mezcal Chupito Bar, and samplings of from the Artisan Cheese Bar, Oyster Shelf, Prosciutto di Parma, Black River Caviar and  TarTare Bar. Bourbon and whiskey lovers may indulge with Whistle Pig Rye and the “Perfect Manhattan Experience”.

Cast your vote, sample the delicacies, and join in the excitement

Cast your vote, sample the delicacies, and join in the excitement

Not that you will want to eat or drink again anytime soon by the end of the event, but guests will also receive a parting gift from La Brea Bakery, so you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck! Doors open at 5PM at the Viceroy Hotel, 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, California. Don’t forget to get your tickets here!

Let Cochon 555 inspire you to reconnect with the food on your plate, and join the Personal Chef Approach today! Learning to shop, cook and eat more thoughtfully and efficiently certainly helps. See how it works above, and click here to view membership features….

….or sample one of my favorite pork recipe above.

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