01/26/16 12:22pm


Angie Mar’s creations included a pork Wellington. Photo: Galdones Photography for COCHON 555.

It takes a little more than a snowstorm to keep down a good chef and a good event. So while the rest of city especially my home borough of Queens was reeling from Jonas, it was business as usual at Cochon 555 in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

Before I set for the long bus ride to Billyburg, I told a friend about the event. “Be sure to get a picture of the red velvet cake,” he said. “I’ll be it’ll be made with pig’s blood,” I said.


Julian Medina of Hecho en Dumbo offered tacos de canasta.

With each chef given a heritage breed pig to work with, there was plenty of exquisite pork: from meatballs and stuffed shells to a salad enriched with ham and chicharrones from Upland’s Justin Smillie. As a card carrying carnivore I’m loathe to say that I enjoyed Smillie’s porcine take on panzanella, but if I could eat a salad gilded with chicharrones every day I would. I also enjoyed the tacos de canasta, or basket tacos from Julian Medina. The little wraps of stewed pork rinds and chile guajillo were lovely. For adventurous eaters like myself, Medina whipped up moronga, a pistachio blood sausage topped with chapulines, crunchy grasshoppers flavored with garlic.


Angie Mar’s decadent pig’s blood red velvet cake.

“We came with 13 preparations,” Chef Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn said as she sliced what appeared to be a red velvet wedding cake. The red came from pigs blood. The over-the-top confection also featured candied guanciale, cream cheese and lard frosting, and pork neck caramel. Before I dug into the cake though I sampled Mar’s lovely pig head pozole. And after the cake I sampled something Mar called “My Jewish Childhood.” It consisted of luscious pork fat challah, truffled lardo  with smoked pork honey and liver and onion pate with ruby port jelly.

I didn’t get to try many of Mar’s other preparations—frankly I’m not sure how the judges have the stamina to try eveyrone’s dishes—but based on what I tried I knew I had to vote for her. P.S. if you liked Cochon 555, be sure to check out next month’s Charcuterie Masters. These are meaty times, indeed.

01/20/16 3:31pm

Photo courtesy of COCHON555

These are meaty times in New York City. With Cochon 555 this weekend and next month’s Charcuterie Masters, I’m going to be in hog heaven. As a lover of the smoky arts and heritage breed pigs I’m excited for this year’s Cochon 555. Heck I’m even making the trek to Brooklyn for it. The event pairs five chefs—Justin Smillie of Upland, Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo and Mike Poiarkoff of Vinegar Hill—with five heritage breed pigs, including mulefoots, old spots, large blacks, and Berkshire breeds.

The five chefs will prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole hog and their utilization will help them win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. As a veteran of the competitive BBQ circuit I can’t wait to see—and eat—what the chefs make, I’m particularly stoked for Angie Mar’s creation. (more…)