Yesterday, 2/20/2011, a great celebration of organic farming took place at the Westin hotel in Seattle. Cochon 555 is a traveling event that promotes organic heritage pig farming and is the only competition of its kind in the country. In each of the 10 participating cities (NYC, Boston, Seattle, Napa, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New Orleans, San Francisco) , local Chefs, Butchers, and Winemakers get together to compete in a friendly competition and promote the legacy of organic heritage pig farming.
In Seattle, the five successful local Chefs, with a true passion for sustainable farming, that showed off their skills were - John Sundstrom (Lark), Holly Smith (Café Juanita), Rachel Yang (Joule/ Revel), Ethan Stowell (Ethan Stowell Restaurants) and Jason Stratton (Spinasse).
I participated in the event as a volunteer from Seattle Culinary Academy and signed up to assist Ethan Stowell’s crew. On our menu we had pork ravioli (the pasta dough was made with pork blood); braised, smoked and deep fried pork belly, served with herbs and apples and about a thousand little doughnuts – we could hardly keep up with the demand for these things. I had a great time and was honored to work with Ethan Stowell; I am looking forward to getting an internship at one of his restaurants. It is important for me to learn from the masters of industry that do it right - chefs that care about where their food comes from.
With tickets listed at $125, the event sold out! 400 guests showed up to support organic farming, and of course to enjoy the goods – pork dishes prepared by top chefs, local wines, beer from Pike Place Brewery, Hood Canal oysters, artisan cheese and a butcher show.
John Sundstrom won the competition based on the votes of the judges. The true winner of the event, however, was the event itself. Cochon 555 is a beautiful way of engaging people in sustainable and organic food practices, and is a keystone in the process of restoration of American family farming.