Five of Atlanta’s culinary elite will come together Sunday afternoon for an epic porkapalooza — the 5th Annual Cochon 555 tour. Chefs Ryan Smith of Empire State South, Joseph Schafer of the soon-to-open King + Duke, Eric Ottensmeyer of Leon’s Full Service, Whitney Otawka of Farm 255 and Miso Izakaya’s Guy Wong (ruler of ramen) will each compete to prepare the tastiest whole heritage breed pig.
Guests will get to “pig out” on all the pork and help 20 judges, including Atlanta chefs Gerry Klaskala, Zeb Stevenson, Jay Swift and Ford Fry, crown the day’s victor “Prince of Porc.” The winner will head to Colorado to compete against nine other Cochon champs (Vail, Seattle and Boston are up next) at the Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen on June 16. “Heritage BBQ 2012” winner Todd Mussman of Local 3 and Muss & Turner’s will also be barbecuing a whole pig to serve before the awards, just in case you don’t get your fill of the other five.
This year’s festival also includes the first “Punch Kings” cocktail competition where six bartenders — Kevin Bragg of 4th & Swift, Kellie Thorn of Empire State South, Arianne Fielder of Seven Lamps, Nate Shuman of Proof & Provision, Ian Cox of Wrecking Bar Brewpub and Trip Sandifer of The Spence — will vie to concoct the best bourbon cocktail.
There’s also an all-new Tartare Bar from Chad Clevenger from Alma Cocina; sustainable oysters from Rappahannock River Oysters; mezcal tastings at the Chupito Bar; beer from Anchor Brewing; wines from Elk Cove Vineyards, Arcadian Winery, Barlow Vineyards and Syncline Wine Cellars; and a butcher demonstration with Rusty Bowers from Pine Street Market.
But as much as we love a good pork party, Cochon 555 is about much more than just the pig. It’s also about creating awareness of family farming and the sustainable food system. The tour was formed five years ago to educate consumers about heritage breeds, and since then the tour has donated more than $270,000 to charities and paid more than $400,000 directly to farmers across the country.
Sheraton Atlanta, 165 Courtland St. NE, February 17, VIP opens at 4 p.m., $200; general admission opens at 5 p.m., $125; rooms packages available.
Photos Courtesy of Galdones Photography