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Cochon555 is back and pork-ier than ever

Now with a whole weekend of whiskey and wine (plus some stuff for vegetarians).

Now with a whole weekend of whiskey and wine (plus some stuff for vegetarians). Cochon555

One part nose-to-tail pork cooking competition, one part all-inclusive feast, Cochon555 aims to raise awareness of heritage breed pigs by, well... eating them.

The multi-city culinary extravaganza returns to Minneapolis on May 5. This year’s chef lineup features Timothy Fischer (Cosmos at Loews Minneapolis), Jose Alarcon (Popol Vuh), Matéo Mackbee (Model Citizen), Scott Pampuch (4 Bells), and Yia Vang (Union Kitchen).

One week before the event, each competitor will receive a 200-pound heritage breed pig that was sustainably raised on a family farm. Chefs have to create a menu of pork-based dishes to wow a panel of celebrity judges (excuse us, but how does one get that job?), with the winner advancing to the Grand Cochon in Chicago on September 15.

Obviously, attendees will be feasting on plenty of pork. But perhaps in a nod to the rising popularity of plant-based diets, this year’s Cochon555 will include a veggie bar by Carrie Summer and Lisa Carlson of Chef Shack Ranch. Other new additions include a seafood bar by Octo Fish Bar and a taco bar by House of Gristle.

Cochon555 will be held at Loews Minneapolis Hotel on Sunday, May 5 at the Loews Hotel (601 First Ave. N.), but new to Minneapolis this year are a couple of events that will let revelers party all weekend long. On Friday, May 3, the Whisky Extravaganza ($95-$195) offers whisky tastings, culinary pairings, and masterclasses. Saturday, May 4 is Wine Riot (tickets $65-$95) which includes wine tasting, light bites, educational programming, and activities like a “wine pronunciation bee.” (Maybe try that one before you’re a few glasses in.)

VIP tickets to Cochon555—which include an extra hour of festivities with preview dishes, an oyster station, specialty cocktails, and reserve wine—are $200. General admission to the two-and-half hour event is $130, and features dishes that highlight responsibly raised pork, other ethically sourced food, and craft beverages from local breweries, distilleries, and wineries.