- Team The Source celebrates their win.
- Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe gets the party started.
- Bryan Voltaggio and Team VOLT plating shortly after presenting to the judges.
- VOLT's menu.
- Butcher Jason Belleau cutting up a pig.
- Pamela Ginsberg cuts her finger mid-butchery competition, tapes it and keeps going.
- Obligatory pig head pic.
- Menu from The Source.
- Plating at The Source's table.
- Scott Drewno standing out in front of The Source's station.
- Jamie Leeds and Team Hank's Oyster Bar.
- Tarver King handing out pork buns.
- Team Ashby Inn.
- The atmosphere in the judging room was pretty lighthearted.
- Intense plating for the judges going on at Team Bourbon Steak.
- Drawings are helpful!
- Adam Sobel presenting his dishes to the judges.
- 701's Ed Witt prepared the Porcelet de Lait roast.
- As if there wasn't enough pork happening, this came out at the end of the evening...
- Bev Eggleston crowns Ed Witt with a fat cap.
- Trimming the fat cap.
- Together in fat caps.
- Dessert? Chicharones dipped in chocolate.
- The view from the Newseum balcony, just outside the conference room.
- Brady Lowe thanks the participating wineries, butchers.
- The five competing chefs line up for the results.
- Drumroll please...
- Scott Drewno of The Source for the win!
- Adam Sobel showing some good sportsmanship.
Last night, the DC leg of the Cochon555 tour (the "Super Bowl of pork") was held at the Newseum's Knight Conference Center. Five ace chefs — Jamie Leeds (Hank's Oyster Bar), Bryan Voltaggio (VOLT), Adam Sobel (Bourbon Steak), Tarver King (Ashby Inn) and Scott Drewno (The Source) — were given five heritage breed pigs to create meals to pair with five wines for a crowd of meat hungry gourmands and a panel of industry experts who would crown one chef The Prince or Princess of Porc.
In the end, Scott Drewno and his team from The Source made the best of their home field advantage and took the title with dishes that included red braised pork heart & belly and a confit bacon and marcona almond brittle. Along with a sweet pig-topped trophy, Drewno will now get to compete with the winning chefs from the other cities hosting Cochon555 events later this year at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Onto the hangover observations!
There was pork of all kinds to be had last night thanks to diverse menus from all the participants:
Jamie Leeds (Hank's Oyster Bar) put out liver parfait with crispy shallots, ricotta pork meatballs and more, but perhaps most raved about was her blood pudding brulee.
VOLT's Bryan Voltaggio had a green apple macaroon made with pork liver, apple butter and wood-smoked bacon dust, a smoked hamhock-chestnut cream soda and pork rinds cleverly served in popcorn containers.
Adam Sobel (Bourbon Steak) got a lot of love for "The Fat Elvis" — bacon, peanut butter, milk chocolate, banana eggs rolls and a passion fruit duck sauce — but also got creative with a corned pig's heart reuben and BBQ pulled pork "cupcakes" that were actually cheddar biscuits.
The Ashby Inn's Tarver King had a dish full of quail egg with pig heart, head cheese and trotter and toast served with apple mustard. He also made some Offally Good Gougere, earning best pun award.
Scott Drewno (The Source) brought back the McRib in addition to his pork belly potstickers and Thai-style salad made with crispy pig skin and ear. He also made char sui pork fortune cookies, with customized fortunes for the judges no less.
Inside the Judging Room
Two rooms separated the judges from the rest of the party, ensuring no cheating or eavesdropping allowed. As each chef came in to present his or her dishes, the room was a flurry as servers laid down each plate with its drink pairing. There was plenty of joking around this table of 20 industry members and friends and a little good-natured ribbing of the contestants: When Bourbon Steak's Adam Sobel asked what else he could do in his presentation, the judges told him he could leave.
Though most of the big names in attendance were either judging or competing, there were some other heavyweights on the floor. Sitting among the judges were Nick Stefanelli (Bibiana), Joe Palma (Westend Bistro), Nycci Nellis (The List), R.J. Cooper (Rogue 24), Mike Isabella (Graffiato), Amanda McClements (Metrocurean), Joe Yonan (Washington Post), David Guas (Bayou Bakery) and Katsuya Fukushima. Out in the crowd there was purveyor Bev Eggleston sporting a caul fat cap, Spike Mendelsohn supporting his fellow Top Chef alums, and others.
The Vibe on the Floor
The floor filled up quickly with pork-hungry people, but in a slightly chaotic way. Almost all the lines were long at this sold-out event and at times it was difficult to tell in which chef's line one was waiting. Several partygoers were overheard lamenting the move from last year's Ritz Carlton location. Still, there was no beating the Newseum's rooftop terraces on a beautiful spring day, where guests could escape the madness and enjoy their pork products while looking down on Capitol Hill.
There was also plenty of booze flowing between the wine pairings, St. Germain cocktails and Porkslap on hand thanks to Butternuts Beer and Ale. And once the tastings ended, Ed Witt from 701 rolled out his roasted porcelet de lait with a fun take on biscuits and gravy. Waiters also began passing out chicharron with a requisite chocolate dip.
After Drewno grabbed his trophy and all the pictures were taken, the party moved up the Green Line to a private party with the Thievery Corporation at Marvin.
Tidbits Here And There
By the end of the evening, once all were properly boozed up, pork roaster Ed Witt won a crown of his own, compliments of one Bev Eggleston. The caul fat-wearing pig purveyor pulled a second cap of fat out of his bag and ceremoniously placed it on Witt's head, snipping it just so until the two had matching caps. In the butchery competition, Pamela Ginsburg of Wagshal's Market proved her toughness the hard way: when a blade sliced her finger, she taped it up, slapped on a glove to keep in the blood and kept going.
· Cochon 555 [Official Site]