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Photo courtesy of Galdones Photography/COCHON 555

A Guide To Cochon555

Cochon555 is coming to town March 6—and we've got the porky lowdown on how to prepare for the annual event.

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Cochon555, a heritage pork–centric competition and strolling dinner, offers more than 30 pork dishes to taste, plus wines, cocktails, and just about everything else. Follow our guide below to survive the food-heavy event.

For the Novice

If this is your first Cochon555 rodeo, we’ll ease you into the world of pork.

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The name: Cochon is French for pig, pronounced co-shon, or more properly, /k????/. The 555 represents five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers.

The mission: This cross-country tour aims to raise awareness for the responsible farming of heritage breed pigs through a lot of eating and drinking. Proceeds to go the Piggy Bank, a Missouri farm dedicated to raising pigs that are gifted to communities.

The terms: A heritage breed pig is a purebred pig that comes from a family farm and is raised humanely. These swine are superior in both taste and texture to their mass-produced counterparts thanks to their abundant and flavorful fat. Only heritage pigs are used for the nose-to-tail competition, which means every part of the pig is used; it’s also known as whole pig utilization.

The ticket: An all-inclusive ticket to Cochon555 provides access to the Sunday event. You’ll be able to sample 40 of the best bites prepared by five local chefs paired with libations from winemakers and barkeeps.

The Denver players (chefs): Troy Guard of TAG, Nelson Perkins of Colt & Gray, Franco Ruiz of Fruition Restaurant, Kyle Mendenhall of the Kitchen, and Paul C. Reilly of Beast & Bottle

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The game: Each chef will prepare a maximum of six dishes using the parts and pieces of one whole pig. It’s up to the hungry foodies (you) and the judges to vote for the winner, who is crowed the “Prince of Porc.” The prince will move on to compete for the national title of—wait for it—”King of Porc.” That doesn’t happen until June 18 down in Aspen.

The event: Although there are pop-up dinners (like the don’t-miss Late Nite Asian Speakeasy at Cho77 on Friday) you can register for on Friday and Saturday (all involving food, of course), the meat of Cochon555—pun intended—takes place on Sunday, March 6 at the Ritz-Carlton downtown. The five chefs will prepare up to six porky dishes for your tasting. However, the likelihood of making it through all 30 dishes is slim, so pace yourself.

For the Veteran

If you’re not a Cochon555 first-timer, you know all about the need to pace yourself. But if you really want to challenge yourself, here are some tips on doing just that.

  1. Try the wines. As previously mentioned, one of the three “5s” represents winemakers. Five sommeliers, including Eric Faber of Cutting Edge and Todd Rocchio of Guard & Grace, will participate in the Somm Smackdown. Vote for the winner.
  2. Try the cocktails. There’s also the Punch Kings competition, which features five barkeeps, including Jon Feuersanger of Beast & Bottle and Kevin Burke of Colt & Gray and Ste. Ellie. Vote for the winner.
  3. Try the other stations. This might help break up some of your pork intake. There’s the Artisan Cheese Bar, the Luxe Butter Bar, a ramen bar, and a pop-up pie shop—among many others you might stumble upon after the long night.

May the pork odds be forever in your favor.

For more information, visit cochon555.com.

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