Cochon 555, the big culinary competition where heritage breed hogs are the focus, swept through the Twin Cities for the second year in a row last night.
Five of our top local chefs went puerco-a-puerco to prove who has the best prowess with pig, but also to highlight responsible farming of heritage breed hogs.
This year's competitors were chefs from Zen Box, Travail, Chef Shack Ranch, Spoon & Stable, and Surly.
Jorge Guzman of Surly took the winning title of "Prince of Porc" with his pozole and the world's tiniest tamales. The mind boggles at what it took to assemble hundreds of them. He also presented a full spread of charcuterie products, with pate en croute, head cheese, and pickled everything, from mushrooms to melon.
Other highlights of the evening included ramen and smoked pork belly from Zen Box, pork blood cocoa and marshmallow from Spoon and Stable, and Chef Shack's inclusion of Tammy Wong of Rainbow Chinese and Hannah Benti of She Royal Ethiopian on their culinary team.
And never to be out done, Mike Brown of Travail intrepidly walked around on his knees serving pate off of the top of his head. Naturally.
Guzman will go on to the national Cochon 555 competition in Aspen this June, where he'll compete against winning chefs from nine other cities.
Last year, our own Thomas Boemer won the national title. He's had a big year ever since, with plenty of national attention on his two Minneapolis restaurants Revival and Corner Table.
Both Boemer and Guzman were recently nominated for James Beard Awards, the biggest national award bestowed on culinary talent.
Congrats to Guzman, and to Surly.