Last night at the Hiro Ballroom was Cochon 555, a sort-of sisterhood of the traveling pork event that supplies five chefs in each visited city with a 70 to 80 pound heritage breed pig; chefs are told to do whatever they’d like, and the results are judged. Wine, beer, cheese, and pig themed (or flavored, really) candy are also served. Last night’s Cochon 555 pitted the following pitmasters against each other: Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Corwin Kaye of Fatty Crab, Juan Jose Cuevas of EightyOne, Bobby Hellen of Resto, and Michael Clampffer of Mosefund Farm. Lardo and headcheese were in abundance, followed by terrine like things and boudin blanc. The air smelled like bacon.
Commenting on the proceedings, judge and writer Josh Ozersky noted that the chefs, eager to make the most out of the whole animal, are making all kinds of esoteric and ornate pig products. “Charcuterie has become the equivalent of dazzling guitar solos,” he says. It’s perhaps for this reason that Fatty Crab’s Corwin Kave (with assists from Zak Pelaccio and Robbie Richter) took top honors last night. Team Fatty Crab served braised Six-Spotted Bershire topped with chilis, cilantro, and fried sambal belacan.