Cochon555, the hyper-local festival with a flair for innovation, is back on the road with its 2017 tour and whole-hog competition for a cause. The Heritage BBQ edition returns to Miami on Sunday, March 26, 2017, at The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. The promotion of global food cultures and heritage breed pig farming will be the central themes of the day. Winemakers, distillers, chefs, farmers, brewers, and bartenders – some of the city’s biggest hospitality talents will take guests on a journey that is both delicious and inspiring. From Malaysia and Korea to Argentina and the Caribbean, Old World barbecue recipes from myriad cultures will be cooked over live fires. To further champion the good food movement, a portion of all proceeds will go to Cochon555’s sister charity, Piggy Bank.
At the heart of all Cochon555 barbecue events lies a culinary competition to promote local family farming and global traditions. Five local chefs are each given one whole, heritage breed pig of 200 pounds and one week to prepare the whole animal. Each chef must present a “Judge’s Plate” of six dishes scored on utilization; global influences; cooking techniques; and overall flavor. A panel of 20 notable judges selects a winner, who will then be crowned the “BBQ Prince/Princess” of Miami. Expanding the circle of talent, this year will also feature two satellite competitions to complement the original whole-animal tilt. Somm Smackdown pits five of the city’s top sommeliers against one another in a quest to find the best wine/pig match. Punch Kings do the same for five bartenders, challenging them to each make their own twist on the original, historic large-group drinking format: cocktail punch.
Communal feasting is an integral part of the Cochon555 culinary fabric. Beyond the 30 chef-competitor dishes – all told, some 1,500-plus pounds of heritage pork – guests can sample beef tartare with the wines of Antica Napa Valley; farmhouse cheeses; a pop-up bakery from La Brea; a Salami Snack Bar from Creminelli and Divina; a ramen noodle soup bar paired with the racy white Wines of Germany; organic pâté offerings from Les Trois Petit Cochons; a Luxury Butter Bar featuring Sabatino truffle butter, foie gras, and more; and an innovative take on classic pastry presented by Perfect Puree of Napa Valley.
Cochon555 events are theaters for innovative spirit, wine, and cocktail experiences. Libations include Smoked Old Fashioneds with Breckenridge Bourbon; The Manhattan Project presented by Poached Jobs; the Tiki Bar featuring Angostura Rum; a Courvoisier Cognac ‘neat’ tasting with handcrafted caramels; and a Heritage Rum Cart. New pours incorporating the historic bitters and luscious rums of Angostura will also be unveiled at the Swizzle Bar. An array of wines grouped under the “Five Winemakers” banner will feature Scholium Project; Pax Wine Cellars; and more. Further tables include Wines of the World, Azzurro Wine Company, and a host of artisanal cider and beer offerings.
Looking back on the 2016 event in Miami, Chef Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio won the event with a Large Black breed of pig raised by Maverick Meats/FKS Farms. This breed is thought to have originated from Chinese breeds brought over to England. The Large Black is a critically rare breed known for its taste, pasture foraging skills and overall hardiness. Large blacks have short black hair, large shoulders, and a long body. When harvested, even at 200 pounds, the micro-marbling, short muscle fibers, and excellent bellies produce exceptional bacon and moist meat with old-world flavor. The Large Black worked in tandem with Chef Diego’s winning menu of five uniquely delicious bites. Dishes included Tamal de Quinoa, Pan Con Chicharron, Lamay Ceviche Salad, Morcilla Adobo, and Chaufa Tacu Tacu.
The ultimate aim of Cochon555 is to give chefs and consumers something they can sink their teeth into honest food from real farmers with the goal of a sustainable and profitable relationship for all. Placing the spotlight on heritage breed pigs themselves, each event features a Pop-Up Butcher Demo and Auction, with gifts from Williams-Sonoma and John Boos & Co., which will all benefit Piggy Bank.
“Cochon555 is a culinary competition like no other. It allows Chefs to connect directly with the best purveyors of heritage pork products in the area while showcasing our talents in new and exciting ways. Lastly, we are able to experiment and expose attendees to new and exciting dishes using techniques, products, and visuals that we may not be able to produce for our regular menus (and maybe take home the gold too!),” says Anthony Le Pape, Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach.
“We’re incredibly excited to return to Miami during our 2017 tour,” says Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe. “This event combines education and innovation in support of heritage breed and family farming. Heritage BBQ puts the focus on global food cultures that represent a centuries-old history of cooking over live fires with native spices and animal breeds. While our focus is local in the agricultural sense, the real concern is about the future – we want our children to be able to enjoy safer, more honest, and delicious food for years to come. We want diners to be able to enjoy better food choices when cooking or eating dinner. And we are standing right there with them, championing transparent foodways and a commitment to what’s sustainable and responsible.”
Tickets for general admission start at $125; VIP tickets (early admission + exclusive sommelier and cocktail competition tastings) are $200; and BESPOKE tickets $400 (the weekend includes a one-of-a-kind five-course dining experience at one of the city’s top tables, a collaboration between three of the city’s most celebrated chefs; super early admission + exclusive private tasting and tour of Somm-Selected wines and the Barkeep competition by a Cochon555 director on Sunday; and a donation to Piggy Bank charity). To purchase tickets, visit the website: http://www.cochon555.com/2017-tour/miami.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, 1 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Sunday, March 26, 2017
4 p.m. for VIP entry, 5 p.m. for General Admission