Cochon555 Minneapolis – 2/21/2016


The second stop on this year’s journey to round up competitors for Grand Cochon was in Minneapolis yesterday. 5 teams of chefs were given 5 heritage pigs to create 5 dishes each. The Minneapolis chefs were:
Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson, Chef Shack
John Ng, Zen Box
Chris Nye, Spoon and Stable
James Winberg, Mike Brown, and Bob Gerken, Travail Kitchen and Amusements
Jorge Guzman, Surly

Besides the restaurant stations there were displays be vendors, local restaurants and enough wine and spirits to sample to give an invading Viking horde pause. The competing restaurants had been working on processing their heritage pigs for several days with generally spectacular results. The non-existing price for going all out should go to the guys from Travail. A meat umbrella, walking chicharon station and the largest pieces of chicharon that I have ever seen were part of their display.

Part of the competition was crown the “Punch King” pitting 5 bartenders in a battle using Breckenridge Bourbon’s. The winner was Blue J. Ballard of Scena. The Sommelier title went to The Bachelor Farmer’s Erin Roleck.

Part of the display was a pop up butcher shop were a whole heritage pig was masterfully butchered and auction off to benefit the Piggy Bank a charity whose mission is to create a heritage breed pig sanctuary that provides free genetics and business plans to emerging family farms. There are several pounds of pristine leaf fat sitting in my fridge to the turned into Austrian Grammeln in the near future.

After all the porky deliciousness was consumed all the remained was to declare the winner and Chef Jorge Guzman of Surly’s took home the title and will represent Minnesota at the Grand Cochon in Aspen.