This is so tempting. On Saturday, the traveling competition and tasting event Cochon 555 comes to Memphis. The gist is simple: five chefs vie against one anther each using one pig, snout to tail. Ticketholders get to eat the creations and try five wines from small winemakers. Attendees and judges select the Prince or Princess of Porc and the winning chef advances to the national competition.
In Memphis, Lee Richardson of Ashley's is competing against Kelly English of Restaurant Iris (Memphis), Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club (Birmingham
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina), Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Cafe (St. Louis), and Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen (Memphis).
Tickets are $125 per person or $200 for VIP access.
On the jump, check out what Richardson's planning on doing with his pig.
From a press release (get ready for some pork puns):
It takes a certain type of chef to see a pig and think beyond sausage. That’s when chef Lee Richardson, of Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, AR works his boar-ish magic. At 6pm on Saturday, February 4, 2011 at the The Columns at One Commerce Square, Lee will join regional chefs in participating in the Memphis, Tennessee leg of COCHON 555, a one of a kind national culinary competition highlighting five chefs, five winemakers, and five pigs, promoting the sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs.
Preparing to unveil a snout-to-tail’ menu, we think its best to begin at the end. Oh my lard! In a Praise the Lard!™ box, [similar to a jewelry box,] it is a most fitting vessel to hold these precious bites of fat - a Chocolate Truffle, filled with a mix of Black Wahakan Mole and Freshly Rendered Lard. You’ll be humming the saying for sure…“Praise the Lord… or Lard!”
Richardson is known for adding a touch of refinement to down home dishes at Ashley’s, where he can be found serving plates based around his culinary concept, New Americana Cuisine. This weekend, Lee with is bringing that concept from Little Rock to Memphis, in Rillettes and Rinds with a Home Made Dill Pickle. These aren’t your typical backyard rinds - Lee cooks his the industrial way, by skinning, severing, drying, cooking and frying, for three to four days to reduce the usual chewy consistency, and topping them with a spicy Espolette.
Lee certainly has his eyes and hands on the Head, Sholders, Knees, and Toes of this pig. In Lord of the Flies fashion, Lee will be deboning the skull, and stuffing it with a unique Mortadella filling. Those with the guts to try this, will be eating just that.
The 20 judges and 400 ticket holders can also take a bite of Boudin Blanc, with Compressed Fennel, earthy Mushroom Conserva, and mouth watering Pork Belly Gremolata. Chefs are required to only bring 400 samples of one of their dishes, but Lee promises he will have tastings of all of his porky goodness for every last person to savor.