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Chef Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station Wins Cochon 555

It seems completely appropriate for yesterday's Cochon 555 Los Angeles event to occupy the storied House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. The roving porcine tour that feels more like a rock concert than any other food event started off the day with a raucous introduction by founder Brady Lowe and a blast of tunes on the venue's massive line-array speaker system. Indie rock, electronica, hip hop, and oldies played while five local chefs put together a bevy of dishes based on heritage breed pigs produced by small-volume farms. While last year the celebration occupied the elegant Vibiana Cathedral in Downtown, this year's tasting felt more intimate, with two levels of food and beverage to accommodate the crowd.

Chefs included Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station, Jason Neroni of the upcoming Superba Snack Bar, Neal Fraser of The Strand House/BLD, Chad Colby (last year's winner) of Mozza, and Micah Wexler of Mezze. Each put together a lineup of dishes that featured a particular heritage breed pig in nose-to-tail fashion.

Highlights include the pork schwarma from Mezze, campangola banh mi with black garlic and black kimchi from Superba, various house-made charcuterie (including an amazing head cheese) from Mozza, pork liver and foie gras (frozen like dippin' dots) filled chicharones from The Strand House, and the crispy pig ears from winning chef Ben Ford, who will be competing in the upcoming Grand Cochon in Aspen on June 17.

Wineries such as Elk Cove Vineyards, Sokol Blosser, Scholium Project, SALDO, Robert Kacher, Turley, Mattiasson, K Vintners, Simi, and Buty poured all afternoon long while Anchor Steam provided brews in icy cold bottles. Daniel Hyatt of San Francisco's Alembic manned a bourbon bar featuring Hudson Whiskey, Angel's Envy, and Templeton Rye served drinks in mason jars shaken up with Luxardo cherries.

Other festivities included a guess-the-ingredients challenge chili created by Chef Joshua Wingham of The Bazaar and sponsored by Le Creuset, where the winner took home a brand new cast iron dutch oven. Just before the announcement of the winner, Laurent-Perrier held a toast featuring its rose Champagne. Artisanal butchers Lindy & Grundy put up a live butcher demonstration on the main floor.

As with all Cochon 555 events, the main stars were the heritage breed pigs: a Red Wattle and Large Black from Heritage Foods, Berkshires from Stone Valley Farm and Jubilee Farm, and another Red Wattle from Cooks Pigs Ranch. The evening concluded with Beastie Boy tribute tracks (“You Gotta Fight for Your Right To Party,” “Brass Monkey,” no doubt in response to Adam “MCA” Yauch's passing on Friday.
·All Cochon 555 Coverage [~ELA~]
— Matthew Kang

House of Blues

8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069