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Photos From San Francisco's Cochon 555

Pigging Out at San Francisco's Cochon 555

Last night I headed over to the Fairmont Hotel for the San Francisco stop of the traveling pig competition, Cochon 555. The 10-city tour features five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers with one chef's pork creations taking home a prize. The 10 winning chefs will compete at the upcoming Food & Wine Classic to see who is named the Grand Cochon. With his delectable crispy fried pig trotters and slow-cooked pork ragu on housemade pasta, Perbacco's Stefan Terje was the clear winner of the night.

A small sign showed us we were in the right place.

Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats was on hand to butcher two pigs.

He started by chopping the head off. It was a great demonstration.

Farr used a very sharp knife to slice the pig open. He talked to the crowd explaining what he was doing.

The event was too crowded. The lines were long and people were everywhere.

To take a look at the other competitors and their dishes, check out all my photos from the event after the break.

A small sign showed us we were in the right place.

Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats was on hand to butcher two pigs.

He started by chopping the head off. It was a great demonstration.

Farr used a very sharp knife to slice the pig open. He talked to the crowd explaining what he was doing.

The event was too crowded. The lines were long and people were everywhere.

My first stop was at the Bi-Rite Market table. Here the team prepares its dishes.

Bi-Rite's dish was pork three ways.

Here we have a blood sausage, pork tenderloin, and lard emulsion. The sauce was the best part of this trio, but it should have been warmer.

A miniature Reuben-style sandwich on foccacia was tasty.

As I passed by the butchering table, I couldn't help but snap another photo. It took Farr an hour and a half to butcher two hogs.

Chicharrones, or fried pork skin, at the Pizzeria Delfina table.

The butchering table from behind. You can see a crowd was surrounding during the entire demo.

A huge projector showed images from past events.

The gorgeous view from the hotel.

The flavor of this braciole from Pizzeria Delfina was excellent. However, the texture of the pork was too chewy.

Slicing the braciole.

The braciole was cooked sous-vide.

For dessert, Pizzeria Delfina offered pizza dough that was fried in lard and doused in vanilla sugar. It was wonderful.

The pork loin, blood sausage, and white sausage from Delfina were very good. At first bite, I thought the blood sausage was the best, but the tender moistness of the white sausage made it my favorite.

The amazing fried pork trotters from Perbacco.

Perbacco's little sister restaurant, Barbacco, is known for its nduja, or spicy spreadable salami. Served on crispy toast, it's totally addictive.

The best dessert of the night was from Perbacco. The restaurant served a super delicious chocolate cake with lard frosting and bacon marshmallow.

The pastry chefs work to plate the dessert.

The folks from Avedano's Meats were serving up chunks of fresh-cooked pork.

Namu's offering was the weakest link. The salmon roe topped pork was slimy and lacked flavor.

I enjoyed sipping the wines of Elk Cove, especially their refreshing Pinot Gris.

Pork belly in a cup? What's not to love?! This was from Bi-Rite.

After Farr finished butchering the hogs, he wrapped each cut of meat in paper. Everyone at the event was entered in a drawing to win a piece of the meat.

The best dish of the night was the last one I tasted. A pork ragu pasta from Chef Terje of Perbacco.

Victory! My name was drawn, and I took home the pork shoulder. Here I pose with my dad, who was my date for the event.

Just when you thought there was no more pork to be eaten, in rolled a surprise Hawaiian-style roast pig.

It was served with an assortment of condiments.
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