Cochon555 may be one of the best food events Dallas has to offer. For those unaware, Cochon555 is a celebration of heritage raised pork, and Dallas is the first stop on a nine-city tour where local chefs prepare their best pork dishes.
This year's event was held at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas and offered guests a plethora of ways to sample food, with a focus on sustainable farm-to-table cooking. Cochon555 also benefits Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making devoted to sharing free heritage breed genetics with small family farms.
"Star-studded" doesn't do justice to describe the local culinary talent on hand at Sunday's event. At the judge's table, John Tesar and Daniel Vaughn were the most recognizable names, as well as Nathan Abeyta of Deep Cuts Butcher Shop in Dallas. Abeyta also brought his team to prepare several whole pigs into primal cuts in front of the crowd, who could then purchase ribs, loins, chops and more to take home.
The chefs competing this year include last year's Cochon555 winner David Uyghur of Macellaio, Bruno Davaillon of Bullion, Matthew Scott of Great Scott, Josh Bonee of Fine China, and this year's Host Chef Christof Syré of Law at Four Seasons Resort. Beyond the pig, there were several vineyards and distilleries represented, all of which made sure to keep a glass of wine or cocktail in every hand, as well as several other restaurants and chefs.
Davaillon and his team from Bullion were voted this year's winner, but there wasn't a bad bite to be found anywhere in the event. What follows are some of our most memorable morsels.
Texas Ramen with Smoked Pork Loin and Crispy Pork Belly, Chef Christof Syré of Law at The Four Seasons
On a rainy and chilly winter day, a bowl of ramen cures almost anything that ails you, and we loved this pork-based ramen from Syré. The pork loin itself was perfectly smoked and tender, and accompanied by crisped squares of pork belly in a slightly spicy chili broth.
Pork Loin and Southern Style Biscuit with Apple Puree, chef Josh Bonee of Fine China
Forget chicken and biscuits. Bonee's brilliantly executed pork loin made us forget about the usual poultry and bread staple. The apple puree added a sweet finish to the pork, which sat atop a flaky biscuit that oozed with buttery goodness.
Chocolate Graham Ganache With Chipotle Meringue, chef Joe Baker of Joe The Baker
As much as Cochon555 was a pork-centric event, there were plenty non-pork gems to be had as well. Baker's chocolate-graham confection was a delicious example, and the chipotle meringue added the perfect amount of zing to the dessert.
Cajun Shrimp and Grits, chef Chris Hill of Hookline
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Chris Hill's Cajun take on the classic shrimp and grits was another non-porcine favorite we stumbled upon. Stone ground grits had a texture and flavor we found appealing, and a peeled Cajun-season shrimp was a winner in our book.
Ricotta Cannoli With Bacon Brittle and Gianduja, David Uyghur of Macellaio
We shouldn't be surprised that anything Uyghur turns out would be delicious, and this spot was originally going to go to his amazing pork belly pastrami with a pickled mustard garnish. Then we tried this cannoli with the impossibly light ricotta filling, which had us questioning everything we previously held dear. Don't know what Gianduja is? Neither did we. Uyghur's team made their own Gianduja, which is a chocolatey hazelnut sauce similar to Nutella, but made with pork fat. Healthy? Probably not. Do we care? Not in the least.