Grand Cochon 2016: Meet the Competitors and the Crowned King of Porc

Grand Cochon, a culinary competition held at Viceroy Snowmass in Colorado is raising the public profile of education surrounding heritage breed pigs. The 2016 Cochon555 Tour featured 10 chefs in 10 cities cooking 10 heritage breed pigs using everything from the snout to the tail.

In all over the last six months, 50 pigs were used to make 300 dishes and determine one winner. 

Chef Josh Henderson brought both finesse and flavor (making sure the Duroc was fed hazelnuts for the last month to help the pig’s fat content) to his dishes like nine-spice pork belly.

“That helps the fat content more than flavor,” Henderson explained. “It’s a nice way for that pig to spend its last 30 days.”

Jona Kim preferred to use Mulefoot bellies because they are smaller and more well-balanced, in terms of meat verses fat content, with an “amazing” flavor.

Chef Angie Mar used a Berkshire Tamworth cross — which she describes as a little more beefy and gamey, but still maintaining a good fat content — to make a dark chocolate cake using pork fat and butter, pork lard cream cheese frosting, chocolate-covered chiccarones, and pork neck caramel drizzled over the top. But her favorite was a birthday cake made of pig’s blood to celebrate the 8th anniversary of Cochon.

Chef Walter Manzke chose dishes — like braised pig belly atop potato puree topped with caviar and a tart filled with pork innards — based on a wide spectrum of flavors and techniques to represent himself in the competition. And it ultimately paid off, as Manzke was crowned the "King of Porc."