While most of the chefs and the people who love them bid a sad goodbye to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on Sunday, the real die-hards stayed on for the fest’s finale, Grand Cochon. 10 chefs from 10 cities celebrated all piggy parts by strutting their whole-animal stuff in a quest for the crown and title of “Prince” or “Princess of Porc.” We were enamored of Missy Robbins’ spicy meatballs with crispy breadcrumbs and chef Raymond Garcia’s (Santa Monica’s Fig) chicharron ice cream sundae with organ cherry syrup and head cheese brittle. But Adam Sobel of RN74 in San Francisco bested them for his creative dishes such as the “Fat Elvis” - peanut butter, chocolate and pork.
Those on hand to enjoy the porcine party: Jose Andres, Andrew Zimmern, Sissy Biggers, Johnny Iuzzini and David Burke, who told us his Aspen branch of David Burke Kitchen will be open just in time for ski season.
Portland Oregon’s Jenn Louis served as a judge, and she gave us her criteria for the ultimate oinker: “It is all in the balance - how all the pieces are utilized, what cuts are utilized, how creative you are with it and letting that awesome product show through. And that is what Cochon is - how do you take the flavor and the style that you work with as a chef, and how do you balance that to show off the product? Pig is rich, so how do you make it not a gut bomb? How do you make it elegant? And how is it fun?”