April 04, 2016

Cochon U.S. Tour announces the Miami winner


National Culinary Competition Announces 2016 Winner In Miami Last Evening and Piggy Bank Raises over $6100 for Farm Devoted to Giving Free Pigs to New Farmers.

Cochon U.S. Tour announces the Miami winner of the 10-city traveling culinary competition. Chef Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio was crowned the Prince of Porc this past Sunday, April 3 at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach. Chef Diego will go on to represent Miami against the other nine cities’ winners in Grand Cochon at Snowmass / Aspen for the title of 2016 King or Queen of Porc and the grand prize, a four-day wine experience in Rioja, Spain’s most prominent wine region. Grand Cochon features ten chefs competing for the crown and guests attending the event can book tickets for Heritage Fire, the country’s premier live-fire event which both fall on the same weekend as the Classic in Aspen. This year’s Miami event benefitted the Piggy Bank, a farm devoted to providing free heritage breed pigs and business plans to emerging family farms. For photos of the winner and the event, click

This year’s competing chefs included Anthony LePape of Ritz-Carlton South Beach - Official Host and Hotel, Xavier Torres of Drunken Dragon, Alex Chang of Vagabond, Michael Fiorello of Beachcraft and Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio. The chefs prepared show-stopping dishes using whole heritage-breed pigs from family farms in a head to tail showcase for a crowd of pork-loving gourmands. Chef Diego won the event with a Large Black breed of pig raised by Maverick Meats/FKS Farms. This breed is thought to have originated from Chinese breeds brought over to England. The Large Black is a critically rare breed known for its taste, pasture foraging skills and overall hardiness. Large blacks have short black hair, large shoulders and a long body. When harvested, even at 200 pounds, the micro-marbeling, short muscle fibers and excellent bellies produce exceptional bacon and moist meat with old world flavor. The Large Black worked in tandem with Chef Diego’s winning menu of five uniquely created delicious bites. Dishes included Tamal de Quinoa, Pan Con Chicharron, Lamay Cebiche Salad, Morcilla Adobo, and Chaufa Tacu Tacu.

This year’s judges included Jeremy Ford of Matador Room, Cesar Zapata of The Federal and Phuc Yeah, Timon Balloo of SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill, Jose Mendin of Pubbelly, Tony Guerra of Citrus Miami, Aaron Brooks of Edge Steakhouse, Bradley Kilgore of Alter, David Morales of The Anderson, Gian Flores from Johnson & Wales University, Andres Barrientos of Miami Smokers, Bryan Nolt of Breckenridge, Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar, Darren Brass and Jose Cordova of Miami Ink and new this year, the five Sommeliers in the Somm Smackdown including; Daniel Toral of 50 Eggs, Inc., Eric Larkee of The Genuine Hospitality Group, Jenni Wagoner of The Mina Group at The Fountainebleau, Kirsta Grauberger of Market 17 and Ian Beglau of Toro Toro helped select the winner.

“It was amazing to return to Miami again this year; I was honored to be surrounded by such a diverse and talented group of chefs,” said Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe. “A big thank you to all the chefs, sponsors, our team and everyone at Ritz-Carlton South Beach, who executed an epic event for our return to the city. I thank everyone who participated and a much-deserved congratulations to winning chef Diego. It was such an amazing turnout, and I’m truly honored to have collaborated with a team of amazing chefs, sponsors and partners who worked together to put so much energy toward the good food movement.”

Throughout the event, a series of activations beyond the 36 competition dishes included the TarTare Bar with Creekstone Farms featuring Richard Hales of Blackbrick, a Welcome Bite prepared by Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant & Wine Bar and the “Luxe Butter Bar” premium butter experience featuring the wines of Antica Napa Valley, Chef’s Warehouse and La Brea Bakery. All guests enjoyed The Artisan Cheese Bar presented by Annie Hall and Gourmet Foods International featuring Cypress Grove Chevre, Coach Farm, Parrano and 34º Crisps, a welcome dish presented by Chef Adrianne Calvo and special bites from Creminelli Fine Meats, California Olive Ranch, Maverick Meats, Florida Fresh Meat Company and the new Seafood Shelf with Mignonette featuring Rappahannock River Oysters.  Those casting a vote for the best bite were able to taste the new Ramen Bar prepared by Jose Mendin of Pubbelly paired with the stunning Wines of Germany and featuring Sun Noodle followed by the Pop-Up Pie Shop with The Good Pie Company before the Awards Ceremony. All guests had the opportunity to take home delicious heritage breed pork from the Pop-Up Butcher Shop, a butchering demonstration with Andres Barrientos of Miami Smokers. The Butcher Shop is a retail experience, which raised $2925 for Piggy Bank and was hosted by celebrated emcee Billy Harris of Hanging with Harris with the support of Williams-Sonoma and our friends in aprons at Hedley & Bennett.

The Cochon555 Culinary Cocktail programming started during VIP hour with Cochon555’s Punch Kings featuring Breckenridge Bourbon, a regional competition featuring six notable barkeeps including Brian Sassen of Repour Homemade Cocktails Miami Beach, Nico Abarzua of Beachcraft, Tim Christakis of Vagabond Restaurant & Bar, Lef Kraounakis of La Mar by Gastón Acurio, Mike Berland of Ritz-Carlton South Beach and winner Jack Araque of BHB Bar/St. Regis Bar with his cocktail, American Mojo who will go on to compete at Last Call at Heritage Fire in Snowmass/Aspen for the national title. During registration, everyone enjoyed “The Welcome Punch” reception featuring Buffalo Trace, DRY Sparkling and The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Wine is back in a big way in 2016 with the ““Five Winemakers” including sought-after wines from Paul Draper (Ridge Wines), Rajat Parr (Sandhi Wines), Abe Schoener (Scholium Project), Jeff Pisoni (Pisoni Vineyards), Pax Mahle (Pax Wine Cellars) and special guest Matt Courtney of Arista Vineyards, and a spotlight Sommelier Smackdown with featured wines, Wines of Germany, Alysian Wines, Tenuta Sassoregale and Azzurro Wine Company. The “World of Wines” table featured five of the city's top sommeliers as they offered their best pairings with heritage breed pork and Kirsta Grauberger with her selection, Sparkling Rose, Patrick Bottex, NV Bugey Cerdon “La Cueille” was selected the winner of the event. Tequila enthusiasts loved “The Perfect Margarita Experience” and the opportunity to discover hand-crafted luxury tequilas including Don Julio Blanco, Reposado, Añejo and Don Julio 1942. Going mobile was the “Heritage Rum Cart” featuring Plantation Rum, Rhum Clement and Diplomatico Rum that traveled through the crowds featuring three premium brands with an educational approach to showcasing styles and the regional influences of rum including Spanish, French and British. The “Chupito” Mezcal Experience featured Don Amado Mezcal, Fidencio Mezcal, Mezcales de Leyenda, Koch el Mezcal, La Venenosa, La Niña del Mezcal and Mezcal Derrumbes. Bourbon and whiskey lovers rejoiced with the return of the “Perfect Manhattan” an experience featuring Eagle Rare and Buffalo Trace finished with Luxardo cherries in a hand-prepared classic topped with a special treat from Creminelli Fine Meats. The amazing “TIKI BAR” showcased tiki-inspired libations featuring The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley and Breckenridge Distillery and classic cocktail enthusiasts enjoyed the Smoked Old Fashioned presented by Breckenridge Bourbon with support from Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao. Fans of low-proof cocktails loved the reserve beauties at Martinez Lacuesta’s Vermut Bar and a crisp lineup of brews from Common Cider. Friends seeking non-alcoholic options experienced the culinary soda lineup from DRY Sparkling and right before the awards, everyone was invited to experience “The Last Word” featuring Junipero Gin and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur right before a quick video and the announcement of the 2016 Prince of Porc Miami, Diego Oka of La Mar by Gastón Acurio.

On Friday, April 1, the weekend began with the Late Night Asian Speakeasy Dinner hosted by Cesar Zapata of Phuc Yea. The all-star lineup of chefs included John Gallo & Rene Reyes of Pinch Kitchen, Diego Oka of La Mar Gastón Acurio, Aaron Brooks of Edge Steak and Bar and Timon Balloo of SUGARCANE Raw Bar Grill with the support of Sun Noodle, Williams-Sonoma and Breckenridge. The family-style feast began with a reception of hand-crafted punches with The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, Breckenridge Distillery and DRY Sparkling alongside a special tasting of Martínez Lacuesta reserve vermouths followed by five courses paired with wines from WInes of Germany. On Saturday, April 2, the epic culinary weekend continued with a three-hour culinary experience, the Chef’s Course Dinner Series, hosted by Michael Fiorello of Beachcraft and guest chefs Richard Hales of Blackbrick/Sakaya Kitchen, Rick Mace of Cafe Boulud, Brad Kilgore of Alter and Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar cooking five-courses paired with Alysian Wines. The dinner began with a reception featuring a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres from each chef alongside a special tasting of Martínez Lacuesta Vermouths, Breckenridge and DRY Sparkling followed by a seated dinner with support from Williams-Sonoma. Altogether, more than $6100 was raised for the Piggy Bank initiative through the Chef Dinners and Pop-Up Butcher Shop.

Cochon555 U.S. Tour

The Cochon555 U.S. Tour, executes a variety of authentic, hyper-local food events focused on raising awareness for heritage breed pigs with the world’s first nose-to-tail pig competition. Created in response to the lack of consumer education around heritage breed pigs, this epic pork feast visits 20 major cities in North America annually with over 60 events. The tour also features a multitude of live-event expressions including Heritage BBQ (global cultures), Heritage Fire (live-fire event), EPIC Cochon (hyper-premium), All-Star Cochon (fan favorites) and Cochon Island (agri-tourism). All Cochon555 events cultivate a long-term impact for heritage species raised by family farms, reaching the top culinary markets in North America while promoting our sponsors’ messages to 16,000 guests by drawing from the biggest names in the hospitality industry, including 2,200+ chefs, 150+ family farms and 16 culinary schools. Since 2009, 50,000+ consumers have experienced heritage pork for the first time, more than $500,000 has been donated to charities and over $750,000 has been paid directly to our farmers. Together with winemakers, brewers, distillers and craft food makers they create authentic culinary events celebrating champions in the good food movement. For more details about the events and to see videos referencing all the events in the Cochon555 family, visit or follow @cochon555 on Twitter and Instagram.

Piggy Bank

Launched in 2015 by Brady Lowe, founder of the Cochon555 US Tour and Taste Network, Piggy Bank’s mission is to create a heritage breed pig sanctuary that provides free genetics and business plans to emerging family farms. The sanctuary will change the future of food by uniting a community working together for safer, responsible farming practices and sharing of genetics, livestock and the sharing of information. Piggy Bank is dedicated to creating the first Open Source agriculture platform through the responsible farming of heritage species. The Piggy Bank farm, located in Missouri, will raise pigs to be gifted only to communities dedicated to elevating the cause and expanding the model of social and agricultural transparency. Piggy Bank is a project of The Giving Back Fund, Inc., a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation with federal tax exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3). Follow the Piggy Bank conversation on Twitter @PiggyBankOrg. For more information about Piggy Bank or The Giving Back Fund, please contact Kerith Dilley or visit

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