One of 2015's most memorable culinary events is back for a second year, and some of Houston's top chefs are competing for the chance to be the "Prince of Porc."
At the Houston stop of the 10-city Cochon 555 tours, Philippe Gaston (Izakaya), Justin Yu (Oxheart), Richard Knight (Hunky Dory), William Wright (Helen Greek Food and Wine) and David Cordua (Americas, Churrascos) are tasked with creating up to six dishes from one whole hog. That's right, Justin Yu, the James Beard finalist known for his delicate, vegetable driven tasting menus, will be serving up some porky deliciousness.
The 500 attendees and a panel of judges comprised of media members and chefs will determine the winner.
Last's year event attracted a who's who of Houston's culinary community for an epic feast, with former Down House chef Mark Decker taking the title. This year's participants are competing for bragging rights and, more importantly, a trip to the Grand Cochon in Aspen where they'll attempt to earn the title "King of Porc" in a national competition featuring the 10 winners in local contests.
This year's star-studded lineup promises to deliver similar thrills. In addition to eating the dishes created by the chefs, attendees are treated to different "pop up experiences" every 20 minutes that range from a ramen shop to a luxury butter bar to a dessert section called "Swine & Sweets." On the beverage side, the event offers sips from five different winemakers as well as a punch competition for local bartenders, a tiki bar, and a selection of margaritas.
All this gluttony comes in service of a larger cause: raising global awareness for socially responsible farming and raising money for Piggy Bank, which organizers describe as "a genetic sanctuary for heritage breed pigs that will provide free genetics and business plans to emerging family farms."
The event takes place February 28 at the JW Marriott Houston Downtown. Tickets start at $130.95 and go all the way up to $258 for a VIP package that includes entering the event an hour early and membership in the event's loyal program that provides "benefits at participating restaurants and discounts online."