Touted as the nation's biggest pork competition, Cochon 555 came to the Twin Cities for the first time this year, and five of our top chefs competed to become the King of Porc (sic). The only thing missing at the Loews Hotel event was a greased pig catching contest. And if there had been, the winner would have been. . .
Thomas Boemer of Corner Table. He, along with Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable, Mike DeCamp of La Belle Vie, Jim Christiansen of Heyday, and Steven Brown of Tilia went trotter a trotter (along with their respective crews) in a formidable battle that included, in reality, not just one contest, but two.
Each chef took on one heritage breed pig, and was tasked with not only impressing a panel of 26 of their peers for 51 percent of the vote, but then another thousand or so guests who paid around $100 each for the privilege of tasting, and also for the opportunity to chime in with 49 percent of the vote.
Boemer created an almost altogether different menu for the judges, five courses composed of Korean bone broth, pate el croute with foie gras, deep-fried trotter with truffled eggs, barbecued pig jowl with cheesy grits and pickled watermelon rind, and a 24-hour roasted apple chicharone with maple mascarpone, smoked ham glaze, and lard puffed pastry.
[Insert deep breath here].
This is all particularly notable since each chef is also at the helm of an independent restaurant, which needless to say had to continue on, business as usual at their respective establishments as they prepared for this competition. These are Olympianesque feats.
Congrats to Corner Table and all of the competitors! Boemer will go on to compete in Grand Cochon 555 in Aspen this summer and compete against the winners from nine other cities.