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Sarah Grueneberg is crowned Chicago's 2016 Princess of Porc at Cochon555
The Cochon555 competition stopped in Chicago last weekend and top honors went to Chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio. She was crowned the Princess of Porc this past Sunday, April 24 at the Loews Chicago Hotel. Chef Sarah will go on to represent Chicago 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. This year’s Chicago event benefitted the Piggy Bank, a farm devoted to providing free heritage breed pigs and business plans to emerging family farms.
This year’s competing chefs included Host Chef Cory Morris of Rural Society, Alfredo Nogueira of Analogue, Phillip Foss of EL Ideas, Sarah Rinkavage of Lula Cafe and winning chef Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio who took home top honors. The chefs prepared dishes using whole heritage-breed pigs from family farms. Chef Sarah won the event with a Mangalitsa breed of pig raised by Meadowbrook Farm. Originating from Hungary in the early 1800’s, the Mangalitsa is a very rare breed characterized by its course, wooly coat and ability to withstand extreme conditions. It is known for its high-quality, lard-type fat and high percentage of marbling, which worked in tandem with Chef Sarah’s winning menu of six uniquely created bites that celebrated Chicago’s diverse culinary neighborhoods. Dishes included:
- Southside – Bar-b-Q Rib Rillettes: Lard, Whole Rib, Shoulder
- West Loop – Pig Skin Tortellini in Brodo: Lard, Bones, Skin, Shoulder, Feet, Back Fat
- Chinatown – Xi’an Spicy Pork Flatbread: Lard, Belly, Ham, Coppa
- Ukrainian Village – Offal-ly Pierogi: Lard, Kidney, Heart, Brain, Cheek
- Pilsen – Tamales De Cabeza & Piggy Backs: Lard, Head, Ears, Tongue
- Little Italy – Crema di Lardo Cannoli: Lard, Back Fat
“It was amazing to come to Chicago 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 Loews Chicago Hotel, who executed an epic event for our return to the city. I thank everyone who participated and a much-deserved congratulations to winning chef Sarah. 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.”
As if the epic pork fest were not enough, Cochon555 also included a staggering array of additional options for the attendees including a TarTare Bar with Creekstone Farms featuring “2015 Princess of Porc” Nicole Pederson of Found Kitchen and Social House, “Luxe Butter Bar” premium butter experience featuring the wines of Antica Napa Valley, an Artisan Cheese Bar featuring the team from Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Cypress Grove Chevre, Coach Farm, Parrano and 34º Crisps, a Tapas Bar featuring Chef AJ Walker of Publican and Wines from Rioja, special bites from Niman Ranch and the Seafood Shelf with Swift & Sons featuring Rappahannock River Oysters. There was also a pop-up Ramen Bar prepared by Justin Carlisle of Red Light Ramen by Ardent paired with the stunning Wines of Germany and featuring Sun Noodle followed by the Pop-Up Pie Shop featuring Bang Bang Pie Shop.
But wait, there’s more!
Cochon555 also celebrates the art of the cocktail with a special “Punch Kings” competition. This year’s cocktail winner was Adam Seger of the TUCK Room with a cocktail called “Random Acts of Flavor.” His cocktail will go on to compete at Last Call at Heritage Fire in Snowmass/Aspen in June. The other competing mixologists, all tasked to create a cocktail using Breckenridge Broubon, were Anthony Mitchell of Revel Room, Lauren Parton of Rural Society, Riley Huddleston of London House, and Justin Kaderabek of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio.
The seven-year old flagship COCHON555 tour is celebrated as the world’s first environmentally conscious nose-to-tail pig competition celebrating fine-dining and the pillars of our culinary landscape. Every year, an epic 10-city culinary tour starts in New York City and culminates with the finale, Grand Cochon, in Snowmass, Colorado, the same weekend as the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Immediately following Grand Cochon, the tour turns to a series of events dedicated to old-world cooking, Heritage Fire (fire-cooking event) and Heritage BBQ (global BBQ exhibition).