Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Food News: Cochon555 and Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival

As the weather slowly creeps towards warmer temperatures, Brandy has just one thing on her mind: food festivals.  "I love nothing better than getting out to some exciting locale and stuffing my face with all sorts of bite sized delights!" as she had been saying to anyone who will listen.  Luckily, the first crop of festivals are beginning to poke their heads out of the defrosted ground with announcements of dates, chef line ups, and cooking demos galore.

On Sunday April 24th, the 8th iteration of the Cochon555 tour will make a stop in Chicago at the Loews Hotel, bringing with it a plethora of porky goodness. The return of the one-of-a-kind stand-up tasting reception will feature five chefs cooking five heritage breed pigs in a friendly competition for a cause. This year's chef line up will include such Chicago favorites as Alfredo Nogueira, Sarah Grueneberg, Sarah Rinkavage, Cory Morris, and Phillip Foss.

Upping its commitment to the good food movement and charitable cause, this year’s tour includes two guest chef dinners that will benefit Piggy Bank, a genetic sanctuary that will provide free heritage breed pigs and business plans to emerging family farms.   Friday kicks off with a Late Night Asian Speakeasy, an all-inclusive guest chef’s dinner party paying homage to Chinese, Sichuan, Korean, Thai and Japanese restaurants. On Saturday, the Chef's Course Dinner Series is a multi-course feast featuring courses paired with premium wines and spirits. Tickets to the dinners are available online at $125 per person and 100% of the proceeds will benefit Piggy Bank. On Sunday, the epic feast features celebrity chefs cooking whole hogs in a stand-up reception of epic proportions. Guests are encouraged to buy tickets as the event is expected to sell out earlier this year. Cochon555 is also running a 21-day contest, “Can’t We Just Be Friends”, giving away two VIP Tickets worth $400. Friends of the good food movement can sign up for the latest news on the weekend and enter the contest here: Tickets for the weekend are already on sale at and for a behind the scenes look at the culinary competition, watch Cochon555’s video here

Photo courtesy of Pastoral 
Photo courtesy of Pastoral 
Following this epic weekend of pig will be the 6th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival.  This free event, created by Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, showcases the talents of local, national and international producers of high quality artisan foods and beverages. APF attendees can sample small-batch food, beer, wine and spirits from nearly 100 culinary artisans.

As a special addition to this year’s event, the APF will feature a James Beard Nominated Chef stage program with culinary thought leaders who will be in town for the James Beard Awards Ceremony that weekend. Guests will hear notable chefs speak about their approach to sourcing product and their appreciation of artisan producers, including, Tory Miller (James Beard Best Chef Midwest), Paul Fehribach (Three-time James Beard Award Semifinalist), Erling Wu-Bower (2015 finalist for James Beard Best Chef, Great Lakes), and Dan Fox (2016 nominee for James Beard Best Chef Midwest).

Proceeds from this event will benefit Purple Asparagus and the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, a scholarship fund for aspiring cheese professionals.

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