- Bibiana chef Nicholas Stefanelli's plating for the judges
- Team Art and Soul
- Chef Wes Morton
- Wes Morton's plating for the judges
- Scott Drewno's custom plates for the judges, complete with chopstick holders
- Pork cocktail from Ed Witt
- Wagshal's Pamela Ginsberg demos butchery
- Michael Mina Group's David Varley was back in town. And he had a pig head.
- Winner Scott Drewno talking to outgoing Westend Bistro chef Joe Palma
Last night, traveling pork-tastic celebration Cochon 555 made its annual stop in DC for a night of pork gluttony, much imbibing and, of course, a showdown among some of DC's finest chefs. Five chefs — defending champ Scott Drewno (The Source), Wes Morton (Art & Soul), Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana), Mike Isabella (Graffiato) and Ed Witt (701) — 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 of Porc.
All the chefs brought their A-games to the Liaison Hotel but, in the end, Drewno held onto his title as Prince of Porc thanks to dishes like Korean barbecue lettuce cups, pork potstickers, and piggie pie with fat back custard. Oh, and the custom-made wooden plates with chopstick holders Drewno used when presenting to the judges. Drewno will now go on to compete at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen later this year.
1) Scott Drewno was crowned Prince of Porc for the second year in a row, which was not entirely a surprise because the man wins a lot of competitions. Also not a surprise? That all of his competitors seemed happy for him — there were a lot of man-bear-hugs all around. As one non-competing chef explained to Eater, "Anyone who doesn't like Scott Drewno is an asshole."
2) Mike Isabella went all-out when it came to his presentation, with a giant menu board over his station to give it a storefront feel. The menu was also printed on the chefs caps that Isabella gave out to supporters as he worked the room. As he rushed around finishing plates during the judging, there was a lot of Top Chef heckling.
3) Isabella's menu referenced his many restaurants, from the pork leg ravioli (Graffiato) and pork fat taco (Bandolero). He also had some tenderloin vindaloo on there, resulting in this totally not-true-in-any-way rumor: Is Mike Isabella opening an Indian restaurant named Voo on H Street next year?
4) Wes Morton starts early when it comes to getting his kids hooked on pork. Two weeks after giving birth to a baby girl (congrats!), his wife brought their kids to a pig slaughter in the lead-up to Cochon 555.
5) Pretty much everyone was hitting on hottest chef contender Nick Stefanelli — and his carbonara ravioli, leef fat cannoli. Both Stefanelli and Ed Witt made blood chocolate desserts because that turns out to be a very delicious combination.
6) Lots of swag: very tattooed chef Ed Witt was giving away pig tattoos, there were Mike Isabella buttons, Yelp breath mints, etc. Lucky raffle winners got cuts of meat in paper bags to take home.
7) Adam Sobel and the team from Bourbon Steak got a final pig of the evening to do family meal, for which they prepared some killer Korean food. Meanwhile, Wagshal's Pamela Ginsberg was on hand for a butchering demo.
8) Past Cochon 555 winner and former Bourbon Steak chef David Varley was back in town judging and hosting a guess-the-ingredients contest.
9) Of course, booze a-plenty. Cochon 555's own "perfect Manhattan" came served in Ball jars, wineries from Sokol Blosser to Elk Cove Vineyards lined the perimeter of the room and there were spirits tastings in a side room, where there was also plenty of cheese just in case you didn't have enough to eat.
10) As Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe thanked all the chefs and various participants at the end of the night, the loudest cheers in the audience came whenever he mentioned the farmers. Farmers were the rockstars last night.
11) More bourbon flowed at the after-party at Art and Soul, convenient located in the same building as the event space so revelers could just stumble into the party.
· Cochon 555 [Official Site]