Cosmo Goss crowned Chicago's 2013 “Prince of Porc” at Cochon555

Let’s face it – Chicagoans love meat.  All kinds of meat.

Whatever their favorite might be, almost all of them can probably agree that “bacon makes everything better.” In the case of Cochon555, let’s extend that to the entire pig and you’ll get some idea of just how satisfying the event can be for a lover of good pork. On Sunday, April 28 Cochon555 celebrated its fifth anniversary with a stop at the Four Seasons in Chicago.

Cochon555 – five chefs, five pigs, five winemakers – is a one-of-a-kind traveling culinary competition and tasting event to promote sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs. The event travels to 10 cities each year and challenges five local chefs to prepare a menu created from heritage breed pigs, nose-to-tail, for an audience of pork-loving epicureans.

2013 Chicago competing chefs included Kevin Hickey (Allium), Cosmo Goss (Publican Quality Meats), Matthias Merges (Yusho), Ryan Poli (Tavernita), and Joshua Adams (June Restaurant in Peoria). Everyone at the event voted for the “Best Bite of the Day” before the producers combined the consumer votes (51%) with the technical score from the local judges (49%) and announced one chef as the Prince or Princess of Porc.

Based on the voting, the grand winner of Cochon555 Chicago 2013 was Cosmo Goss of Publican Quality Meats.  Goss won out over the competition with a series of inventive pork dishes, including  “Churros and Chocolate,” “Blood Sausage & Strawberries,” Cuttlefish and N’duja Pudding,” and “Pork Loin Tonnato.”

Chef Cosmo Goss, the winner of this year’s competition, will go on to compete against other regional winners at the finale Grand Cochon event at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 16, 2012. And he has something to prove this year because last year’s Chicago winner (Jason Vincent of Nightwood) went on to win the national competition.

Can Chicago keep the crown for another year?  Fingers crossed!

Even though the food is the primary focus of the event, the entire concept of Cochon555 is one that is the true winner. Brady Lowe, Founder of Cochon 555 and President & Creative Director of Taste Network, is passionate about increasing awareness of the sources that support a more natural, sustainable food system. He thinks the best way to spread the word is through unique culinary experiences. Says Lowe, “One event cannot change the entire food production system (not yet, anyway), but we can celebrate people who are favorably tilting the scales back towards local producers.” His events draw together top chefs, winemakers, farmers, thought-leaders, foodies, food media and responsible consumers to celebrate artisan foods and producers.

The Chicago event featured the five amazing chefs, of course, but it also featured five incredibly wineries, all of which are family-owned and operated. This year, the wineries included Scholium Project, Elk Cove Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Buty Winery, K Vintners, plus special tastings from Silver Oak, MacPhail Family Wines, Anchor Brewing, Crispin Ciders, Pig’s Nose Scotch, and Illegal Mezcal. All of these are extraordinary small producers who focus on sustainability, ecology, and quality.

In addition, to celebrate five years of Heritage Breeds, Cochon added five bourbons to the lineup! All attendees were able to sample Breckenridge Bourbon, Eagle Rare, Templeton Rye, High West, Buffalo Trace and Four Roses in addition to the Perfect Manhattan Bar showcasing Luxardo cherries and Eagle Rare. Also new in 2013 was the Chupito/Mezcal Bar, a tasting experience featuring Mezcales de Leyenda, Pierde Almas and Fidencio. The infamous Craft Cheese Bar saw a facelift featuring a local cheesemonger, Cypress Grove Chevre, Vermont Butter & Cheese, Spring Brook Farm with an exclusive tasting of blues from Rogue Creamery, and favorites from Kerrygold.

Of course, no Cochon555 in Chicago is complete without the participation of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine who always provide a stellar product!

For more information on Cochon555, upcoming Cochon555 events, or to contact any of the vendors who sponsor and participate in the event, you can visit the website at If you love food and wine, don’t miss out on next year’s competition in Chicago!

NOTE: All photos by Galdones Photography.  Used by permission






Leave a Reply