As we reported a few weeks ago, Cochon555, the nationwide swine tour and chef battle that trots from city to city in an effort to ballyhoo the benefits of heritage-breed pigs, is stopping in Denver on Sunday, March 9, specifically at the Ritz-Carlton, where five local chefs -- Jennifer Jasinski (Rioja, Euclid Hall, Bistro Vendome and the forthcoming Stoic & Genuine); Justin Brunson (Old Major and Masterpiece Deli); Paul Reilly (Beast + Bottle); Steve Redzikowski (Acorn and Oak at Fourteenth); and Bill Greenwood (Beano's Cabin) -- will go trotter to trotter in a pig battle that will catapult one of those chefs to a competitor at the Grand Cochon in Aspen, where just one chef from all the participating cities will be crowned the "King or Queen of Porc."
But before the showdown of swine commences, there's a kickoff bash at Harman's Eat & Drink, which makes perfect sense considering that chef John Little is a huge pig proponent. "Pork is such a magical ingredient, because there's no limit to what you can do with a whole pig; every piece of that animal can be used," said Little when I chatted with him last year for my weekly Chef and Tell interview.
The Cochon555 Chef's Course, in conjunction with the Denver Cochon555 tour, will take place at Harman's on Friday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Cherry Creek restaurant's series of chef-centric events that "highlight wine, spirit and beermakers, and focus on all else that's great about sharing the table with good friends, food & drink," says exec chef-owner Mark Fischer, who also owns the Pullman in Glenwood Springs, along with Town and Phat Thai in Carbondale.
The six-course dinner, following a cocktail reception, is headlined by Frank Bonanno (Bonanno Concepts); Lon Symensma (ChoLon Modern Asian Bistro); Brandon Biederman (Steuben's and Ace); Daniel Asher (Root Down and Linger); and host chefs Little and Fischer, all of whom will cook an individual course, each of which will be paired with beer from Goose Island, wine or cocktails concocted with spirits from Breckenridge Distillers.
Seats are $125 per person, the proceeds of which benefit the James Beard Foundation, and can be purchased by calling 303-388-7428. "Seating is not unlimited and these things always sell out ridiculously quick," notes Fischer. You've been warned.
The pork-intensive menu, which looks fantastic, is below.
First course: Housemade burrata and house-cured coppa Frank Bonanno
Second course: Smoked scallop crudo with citrus and horseradish Brandon Biederman
Third course: Foie gras veloute and foraged mushrooms Lon Symensma
Fourth course: "Porn" noodles with crab (can't wait to see what this is) Mark Fischer
Fifth course: Crisp pork belly with pretzels, spaetzle and Brussels kraut John Little
Sixth course: Bourbon-maple glazed donuts with chocolate-dipped bacon, candied lardon and crispy pig's ears Daniel Asher
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