Atlanta Summer Food FestivalsAtlanta, GA • 10 Aug
Food Festival: Cochon555
Pictured: Cameron Greene of Srathardforlife, Mary Blackmon of Farm Star Living, and Robert McKeown the Director of Communications of Cochon555 & PeachFest
In June, I attended the food festival, Cochon555 at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, GA. Cochon555 is food festival featuring 5 heritage breed pigs, 5 chefs, & 5 winemakers. Cochon555 is a food festival that takes place throughout the year in 14 different cities across the US.
The event benefitted Piggy Bank, which is a “farm-in-the making providing solutions for emerging farmers looking to raise heritage breed pigs. The goal is to provide free genetics (piglets) alongside an online trove of business plans and crucial start-up information to family farms” (Cochon555). Five chefs from five restaurants around Atlanta competed head-to-head for a chance to advance to the next Cochon555 taking place a few weeks from the Atlanta event in Chicago. Executive chefs from restaurants such as Trade Root at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead (Chef Stephen Toevs), Seven Lamps (Chef Drew Van Leuvan), One Eared Stag (Chef Robert Phalen), Porch Light Latin Kitchen (Chef Andre Gomez), and Donetto (Chef Michael Perez) created innovative dishes from their favorite heritage breed pigs.
It was so hard to choose who to vote for since we ate so many delicious dishes over the course of 3 hours.
The winner was Seven Lamps, who advanced to Cochon555 Chicago to compete with other chefs from across the country.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Stephen Toevs of Trade Root at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead before Cochon555. Let’s take a closer look behind the scenes from my visit with him.
Chef Stephen Toevs, Trade Root (Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead):
1) what was the dish you created for me today?
Pork Belly Bao
2) What is special about heritage breed pork?
Heritage Breed pork honors the true genealogy of the animal, they are never cross bred.
3) Can you describe its taste to me? And how is it different to cook?
Originating from Britain, Berkshire is the most popular of the heritage breeds. Known as “Kurobuta” in Japan, this pig is black with white legs, and has become a favorite with chefs because of its intramuscular marbling. The breed yields a brighter pork than most, and features a thick, delicious fat cap. The meat is sweet and creamy with hints of nuttiness, which is a by-product of the finishing process in several areas.
4) What’s your favorite way to prepare pork?
Open pit BBQ!
5) Why is it important to buy locally or from family farms?
There are many reasons, first your supporting local craftsmen and women that are as passionate about food as chefs. It brings the supply chain circle closer which allows you to understand the taste and the history of the product. Lastly, it tells a great story of partnership and commerce that our country was built on.
6) Tell me about the concept of Trade Root.
This summer Trade Root arrives in Buckhead. The new bar and restaurant focuses on the cooking style that grew from an extensive history of travel, trade and exploration throughout the Mediterranean. Full of bold flavors and hyper-local ingredients, Trade Root brings a fresh approach to dining and gathering.
Food Festival: PeachFest
If you missed out on Cochon555, luckily for you, the folks behind Cochon555 are hosting PeachFest, which is a food festival featuring peach and pork dishes this weekend in downtown Atlanta on Broad ST NW + Poplar St NW from 4-7 PM. It’s going to be a great event. If you haven’t bought a ticket yet, snag one here before they sell out.
I had a chance to grab some behind the scenes footage of a few of the chefs participating at PeachFest this weekend: Chef Hector Santiago of El Super Pan, Chef Terry Koval of Wrecking Bar Brewpub, and Chef Chad Clevenger of Alma Cocina.
Chef Hector Santiago, El Super Pan:
When I asked Chef Hector Santiago of El Super Pan which one he liked better: the peach or the pork? Chef Hector responded “Peach-Pork.” Chef Hector made me a Puerto Rican roast pork sandwich topped with some peaches and a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, and lime.
Chef Terry Koval, Wrecking Bar Brewpub:
Chef Terry Koval of Wrecking Bar Brewpub made a dish with porchetta with greens from the restaurant garden with marinated peaches topped with a shaved peach purée.
Chef Chad Clevenger, Alma Cocina:
Chef Chad Clevenger of Alma Cocina made a dish with pork belly chicharrones prensado from Gum Creek Farms with some Pearson Farms fermented peaches with fermented peach hot sauce, Marcona almond crumble, and micro-cilantro.