By Crystal Grobe

We have many talented chefs here in the Twin Cities. Enough talent to have attracted the attention of Cochon555, a national whole-hog chef competition, who added Minneapolis to its select list of competition stops back in 2015. Past King of Porc titles were held by Thomas Boehmer of Corner Table and Revival (2015), Jorge Guzman formerly of Surly (2016) and Grae Nonas formerly of Tullibee (2017), all bringing a different set of flavors to the table.

This year’s competition was held on Sunday at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel with a new round of competitors expecting the crown: Timothy Fischer of Loews, Daniel del Prado of Martina, Karyn Tomlinson of Corner Table, Russell Klein of Meritage, and Remy Pettus of Bardo.

Each chef was given a whole heritage-breed hog (200 pounds!) and boy did they deliver.

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Pork Tortellini from Martina – Crystal Grobe

Daniel del Prado, chef at Martina, made pork tortellini swimming in delicious herbed , braised pork empanadas along with a few other pork goodies.

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Pork Goodness from Bardo – Crystal Grobe

Remy Pettus of Bardo served a hearty plate of andouille sausage, pork belly, BBQ beans and pork agnolotti.

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Meritage’s Mustard Bar – Crystal Grobe

Chef Russell Klein of Meritage served adorable little single serving pork and duck pies with a gorgeous assortment of mustards. He also served my favorite drink of the night: pork fat washed gin, celery juice, vermouth, Farigoule (thyme infused liqueur) and lemon. It had a savory vegetal flavor with a hint of sweetness from the liqueur and I can only hope to drink it again!

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Loews Hotel – Crystal Grobe

Timothy Fischer, Executive Chef at the Lowes Minneapolis Hotel, presented a bunch of little bites like pork belly, rillettes, and truffle pork sausage and had one of the most visually attractive displays that highlighted the fresh ingredients used to compliment the pork.

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Chicharron Toffee – Crystal Grobe

And the WINNER, Karyn Tomlinson, of Corner Table, brought us Sunday Supper complete with Swedish meatballs, a Sunday ham sandwich, apple pie with a lard crust and liver ice cream and also served chicharron toffee drizzled with chocolate.

Brady Lowe, Cochon555’s founder, said, “Chef Karyn’s winning dishes were bold, modern, thoughtful, and full of the kind of flavors that enhance what heritage breed pigs have to offer.  We can’t wait to return to Minneapolis, especially at such a stunning venue.” said Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe.

Congrats to Chef Tomlinson! She’s the first female to win Cochon in Minneapolis and it’s the second win for Corner Table. It seems like those Corner Table folks know a thing or two about cooking pork. She will go on to compete for the title of Queen or King of Porc at Grand Cochon in Chicago on Sept. 30th and possibly bring home a win for Minneapolis.

For more information on Cochon555 and upcoming events, visit Cochon’s website. To learn about Cochon’s charity partner Piggy Bank, click here.

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