Sunday night, five hand-picked New York chefs competed for the title of ‘Prince of Porc’ in a rollicking event inside the swanky Ritz-Carlton Battery Park in New York. It was the New York branch of the nationwide Cochon 555 competition, a celebration of heritage-breed pork, and winner Seamus Mullen will be heading to Aspen to compete in the ‘Grand Cochon’ at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in June.
Each of the chefs was tasked with creating a handful of pork-centric dishes for the event, and guests during the walk-around tasting were able to sample their offerings as well as a wide selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Here’s what was on offer:
Frank Langello (Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca): Ciaosculo with mandarin orange and volcanic black salt; cotechino in galera with tonnato di maiale; tonno di maiale with Rebecca’s Piggy Shortbread; porchetta di testa with puntarelle and white anchovies
Michael Toscano (Perla): Crackling all’amatriciana (crispy pork skin, tomato, guanciale, and pecorino); fagioli al fiasco (cannellini beans, ciccioli, and focaccia); spiedino tzigonier (fresh ham and pork belly skewer with porcini); Italian dip (porchetta sandwich with pork broth); brodo en tortellino (steamed soup dumpling with testa); ciauscolo (salami cannoli with persimmon mostarda)
Seamus Mullen (Tertulia): Sea salt and vinegar chicharrones; Lollibellies (candied pork belly pops); Cojonudo de morcilla (smoked blood sausage with almonds and raisins, fried quail egg, pickled pepper); Terrine of smoked pig face; Buttifara blanca (Catalan white sausage with truffles and porky lentils); Paella de cerdo; duck and foie frankfurter
Lauren Hirschberg (Craftbar): Pork belly tacos; choucroute garni; dumplings; stuffed trotter; barbecue pulled pork shoulder; assorted charcuterie
David Standridge (Market Table): Pate en croute; pork sandwich with liver mousse, baked ham, whipped lardo, pickled turnip; crispy pork belly with pine nut puree, kale salad, spiced gastrique; tete de cochon; applejack-braised pork shoulder; butterscotch pork rind cookies
“Heritage-breed pigs have come a long way since our first year on tour,” founder Brady Lowe told the crowd. “But in six years, one thing has not changed: the pure, undeniable fact of how much hard work the tour actually is, and how it all starts with the farmer. What happens when you take a few hundred flavor-craving people and you add 1200 pounds of heritage-breed pig? I would have to say it’s called Cochon 555.”
The tour is also making stops in Miami, Los Angeles, Napa, Denver, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, and the winning chef from each of those cities will go on to compete for the title of King or Queen of Porc at the Grand Cochon, to be held June 22 Aspen Food & Wine Classic.