Cochon555 Brings Pork Party to SF this Weekend


Calling all bacon lovers! If you haven’t purchased your ticket to Cochon555’s Heritage BBQ yet, get on it. The event takes place this Sunday, June 4 and almost always sells out. From 4 to 8 p.m. at Magnolia Brewery in the Dogpatch, five chefs will compete in the global edition of Cochon555. Each chef is given a different type of pig and has to wow a team of judges. There are also five winemakers pouring the best wines that pair with pork. It’s a tasty and fantastic affair—one that we highly recommend. “This year’s San Francisco event is all about local community. Four of the five chefs are within walking distance of our host site, Magnolia Brewery, which also helps donate the by-products of their brewing process to farms that raise heritage-breeds,” Robert McKeown, Cochon555’s communications director told Haute Living by email. “People will literally taste the fruits of a process that goes from brewery to farm to pig—and back to a brewery as a place of consumption for those same animals they helped feed. Talk about a delicious life cycle!”

The judges table at last year's Cochon555
The judges table at last year’s Cochon555

Photo Credit: Galdones Photography/Cochon555

The chefs participating in Sunday’s Cochon555 are Trevor Ogden of Park Tavern, Chandler Diehl of Piccino, Tommy Halvorson of Serpentine, Jordan Keao of Aina, and Eric Nyeste of Smokestack at Magnolia Brewery. Butcher John Stewart, from Zazu Kitchen + Farm will be breaking down a whole pig. “We also have one of our best drink programs yet, with dozens of artisanal wines and cocktail experiences to boot,” McKeown says. “Elegant Sonoma Coast and Russian River pinots from Kosta Browne and CIRQ, the esoteric and thoughtful whites from Scholium Project, the iconic cabernet sauvignon of Silver Oak, a tartare bar with Antica’s whites and reds—those are just a sampling. There’s a bracing, zesty Queen’s Park Swizzle Bar from the centuries-old Angostura rum makers that I like for chasing away the luscious lard from some dishes. There’s a tiki bar with serious fruity range from Perfect Puree, and our homage to communal drinking, Punch Kings, where barkeeps mixoff with Breckenridge bourbon punches. Even if you don’t like pig, it’s worth sipping your way through our lineup.”

Heritage pigs
Heritage pigs

Since its inaugural event in 2008, Cochon555 has gained in popularity so much that the brand has launched a charity, Piggy Bank. Its mission is to create a pig sanctuary, specifically for heritage breeds, that provides free genetics and business plans to up-and-coming farm families. Of the brand’s growth, McKeown says, “we now go to 14 separate cities, winners from each of which get to go to Grand Cochon in October, our largest group of competitors yet. We also have a very clear vision – together with our charity Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making in Missouri—of what we’d like to accomplish in the coming years: a real impact on the number of farms that raise these magical animals on a nationwide scale.”

Chefs break down a whole pig during last year's event
Chefs break down a whole pig during last year’s event

Photo Credit: Galdones Photography/Cochon555

As for the food that will be served in two days, McKeown says to expect the unexpected. Chefs can be incredibly innovative with what they create. “In Nashville, we had a young chef who grew up in a cooking school in Oaxaca and cooked some of the most intensely personal and flavorful food we encountered this year. In Houston, a Japanese chef’s dishes reminded me of my first trip to Osaka in Japan, tastes at once precise and earthy,” McKeown explains. “In LA, the chefs from Otium made a 6-bite cycle of dishes that was all about purity. Those are just a few, and I have no doubt San Francisco will dish up something similar. Not knowing what is why I think people like coming back to see us and the chefs and farmers year after year.” Sounds like there will be plenty of porky scrumptiousness—that’s definitely something to look forward to.