After last year’s success, the Cochon555 U.S. Tour is returning to Austin on Sunday, August 20. The amazing pork feast stops at 16 major culinary markets in North America each year, hosting hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs. The main attraction at the event is a nose-to-tail cook-off featuring five local chefs. Proceeds from the festival and competition support family farms producing heritage breed pigs.
One week before the event, each chef receives a 200-pound pig from a local farmer to create a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes scored on categories such as utilization, cooking techniques, and overall flavor. The winner from each city earns a place at the national championship, to be held in Chicago in October. The grand prize is a four-day wine experience in Rioja, Spain's most prominent wine region.
The Austin event takes place at the Four Seasons Austin Hotel. VIP entrance is at 4 pm, and general admission starts at 5 pm. Austin’s competing chefs are James Flowers of Trio, Sarah McIntosh of Epicerie Cafe & Grocery, Nicholas Yanes of Juniper, Evan LeRoy of LeRoy and Lewis, and Clinton Kendall of East Side King.
“I’m excited to be competing in this year’s Cochon555,” says Chef Evan LeRoy, “as the event is truly in line with ideals we aim to uphold at LeRoy and Lewis, from focusing on working with local farmers to utilizing the whole animal. It’s an honor to be included in this group of esteemed chefs, especially being such a new concept.”
This communal event includes gourmet offerings from various national and international vendors including farmhouse cheeses; a pop-up bakery featuring La Brea; a salami snack bar from Creminelli and Divina; a ramen bar paired with wines of Germany; organic pâté offerings from Les Trois Petit Cochons; and truffle butter and foie gras from Sabatino.
Libations include welcome punches featuring Buffalo Trace and Dry Sparkling, smoked Old Fashioned with Breckenridge Bourbon; a Tiki Bar featuring the historic bitters and rum from Angostura; a Courvoisier Cognac tasting with hand-crafted chocolates; and a heritage rum cart, in addition to wine, artisanal cider, and beer offerings.
On Saturday, August 19, organizers are also presenting Bespoke, an educational luncheon event in conjunction with Piggy Bank and the American Friends of the Oxford Food Symposium, at Contigo. The goal for this event is to bridge the gap between the worlds of academia, food culture, and hospitality through a series of keynote speeches, panels, and roundtable discussions.
Kicking off the program will be keynote speaker Dr. Rachel Laudan, a world-renowned food studies historian residing in Austin, followed by panels and discussion featuring Sam Hellman-Mass of the upcoming restaurant Suerte and Fiore Tedesco of L’Oca D’Oro, and a pop up ramen bar by Eric Silverstein of the Peached Tortilla.
Tickets for Sunday's event run from $125 to $200. More details about Cochon555 and tickets to this weekend's events are available online.