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Cochon 555 Boston 2012: A Wrap Up

Barry Maiden, Colin Lynch, Steve "Nookie" Postal, Brady Lowe, Barbara Lynch, Tim Cushman, Jaimie Bissonnette
Barry Maiden, Colin Lynch, Steve "Nookie" Postal, Brady Lowe, Barbara Lynch, Tim Cushman, Jaimie Bissonnette

[Photo: Huge Galdones/Cochon 555]

The fourth annual Cochon 555 came to the Mandarin Oriental last night, where Toro and Coppa chef Jamie Bissonnette took home the trophy as the "Prince of Porc." The event pairs five different local chefs - Bissonnette, Barry Maiden of Hungry Mother, Tim Cushman of O Ya, Steve "Nookie" Postal of Fenway Park and Barbara Lynch of Menton - with five locally raised heritage breed pigs. The third "5" is for the wine pairings, which included entries from Sokol Blosser and K Vintners. The winner was decided by attendees and by a panel of judges including chef Will Gilson of the upcoming bridgestreet and Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks. Bissonnette will now go on to compete in the Grand Cochon event at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this June.

In the Madarin Oriental ballroom, hundreds of guests feasted on the chefs' creations in what seemed like a never-ending supply of sustainable pig. If you needed a break, there were also oysters from Island Creek, cheese by Formaggio, and vegetables by Clover: a rarity here.

Mason jars were scattered about and filled with strips of bacon; other mason jars were filled with bourbon cocktails. Most tables featured an ornately presented leg of Fermin's Iberico de Bellota. There was a butchering demo by Rick Lemay of Lemay & Sons in NH and a guess-the-ingredients contest by former three-time Boston Cochon 555 winner Matt Jennings of Farmstead in Providence.

Some chefs took creative license in displaying their menus. Postal's appeared on a Fenway-esque scorecard with a column showing which part of the animal the dish came from and Cushman's was laser printed onto an actual piece of pig skin which he said would turn into a chicharrón if dropped into hot oil. Both Postal and Maiden thought to accompany porky ice cream with sweet, crackly skin. Something for the new season at Fenway, perhaps? Almost entirely absent from all of the menus: bacon.

What the other chefs made.

Chef: Barbara Lynch
Pig: Large Black
· hay cooked ham and ramp biscuits with honey and ricotta
· chicken fried head cheese served on a bacon waffle with maple syrup
· blood sausage tortellini with spring-dug parsnip puree, hazelnut and onion ring
· pork pastrami reuben on marble rye with "brain-naise"
· polish sausage with honey mustard
· Chicago-style offal hot dog

Chef: Tim Cushman
Pig: Hereford
· ham and fatback sugarcane pork with thai basil, culantro, kinh goi
· liver mousse with sesame mostarda, dashi pickle, crab chip, and chicharrón bits
· blood sausage with caramelized kimchee, gochuchang suace, shiso tempura
· tea-brined pigtail ballotine with foie gras kabayaki sauce and peppercress
· smoked mortadella with wasabi tare, bonito flakes and nori
· rilletes croquette with dashi braised smoked hock, yuzu kosho avocado
· banh xeo cone, soy-sake braised belly and jowl, coconut lemongrass sauce
· buta niku spicy backbone stew with jalapeno and kinome

Chef: Steve "Nookie" Postal
Pig: Tamworth
· head cheese with grain mustard, pickled radish and brioche
· pork dumpling with ginger, scallion, soy and Chianking vinegar
· Boston baked beans with pork belly two ways and brown bread
· carnitas tostadas with cilantro, queso fresco and tomatillo salsa
· roast pork with Roxbury Russet butter and sauce Robert
· pork blood ice cream with coffee, chocolate and "pork crispy treat"

Chef: Barry Maiden
Pig: Large Black
· porky belly "buttered" biscuit with cracklin's and Kentucky Worcestershire glaze
· pig's head crouton with shaved heart and bacon grease-wilted greens
· deviled ham tea sandwich terrine with pickled okra and pain de mie
· pâté with lard roasted pecans and smoked maple mustard
· Lexington-style bbq pulled pork shoulder with grits and bread & butter pickles
· loin and fatback pastrami with collard green kraut and "special sauce"
· lard ice cream, sorghum marshmallow, smoked chocolate, sugared chicharrones

Disclosure: our admission to this event was provided by the organizers.


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