On Sunday, five Los Angeles chefs -- Chad Colby of Mozza; Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station; Neal Fraser and Travis Lorton of the Strand House, Grace & BLT; Jason Neroni of Superba Snack Bar; and Micah Wexler of Mezze -- gathered at the House of Blues for a nose-to-tail cook-off using five heritage pig breeds.
Ford won the Cochon 555 competition with favorites such as his belly Benedict with a soft poached egg, Fresno chile and bacon hollandaise; a head cheese hero of pig's liver pate, pickled vegetables, charred scallion-lemon aioli and crispy pigs ears; a chile verde taco with smoked pigs ear and micro cilantro; chilled pork loin with tomato sauce, red onion and sea salt; and pork tartare paired with quail egg, walnut oil and confit shallot.
Other menu highlights included the campagnola banh mi with black garlic and black kimchi from Neroni; Fraser's roasted loin and rack with fava beans, morel mushrooms and corn veloute; pig tail pasta and house-made charcuterie from Colby (last year's winner); and Wexler's pork leg tagine.
In addition to guests pigging out on pork-centric dishes, wineries including Robert Kacher, Elk Cove Vineyards, K Vintners, Sokol Blosser, Scholium Project,Turley, Mattiasson, Simi and Buty poured tastings throughout the evening. L.A. artisanal butchers Lindy & Grundy also gave a live pig butchering demo.
On June 17, the winning chefs from the 10-city tasting tour will gather in Aspen, Colo., to participate in the grand cochon competition as part of the 30th annual Food & Wine Classic.
-- Leah Rodrigues
Photo: Ben Ford Credit: Hugh Galdones Photography