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Chef Ray Garcia Wins Cochon 555 With Butt Tamales

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Faux-luchador Ray Garcia and his sous chef
Faux-luchador Ray Garcia and his sous chef
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

It was a raucous fest of cooking in which five chefs squared off on the culinary stage with five heritage breeds of pig. Once again, Cochon 555 returned to Hollywood's House of Blues where hundreds of hungry porcine fiends gathered to schmooze and booze for hours. Yesterday at 4 p.m. crowds flocked to the venue to try Jet Tila (The Charleston), Sean Dent (House of Blues), Gavin Lansdale (Ford's Filling Station), Ray Garcia (FIG), and Joshua Whigham's (The Bazaar) pork-centric creations.
Tila put out a pork belly steamed bun and a special, super-rich khao soi made with various pig parts. Dent made a delicious crispy egg roll filled with pork. Lansdale had a charcuterie plate, pork ramen and a chocolate mousse dessert topped with an addictive bacon toffee. Garcia and his crew, dressed to the nines in Luchador outfits, rocked out with a pork ceviche and pork butt tamales — one of the best and winning plates of the evening. Whigham pulled out Spanish bites of pig head croquettas, butifarra with mushrooms, and chicharrones bravas.

Amelia Posada and Erika Nakamura (Lindy & Grundy) put together a butcher's demonstration, taking apart various cuts of a whole pig, each of which ended up in the hands of raffle winners. Among the competing bartenders or "punch kings," Josh Goldman won out, getting a thousand-dollar bottle of Breckenridge bourbon and a trip to Aspen for the Grand Cochon event.

Winemakers like Elk Cove and Simi poured vino, bourbon brands like Four Roses and High West served tipple, and beer crafters like Eagle Rock Brewery and Anchor poured micro brew beers. At the end, LA Creamery served porc phat and mezcal ice cream while the after party continued on in the Foundation Room, with even more drinking and eating.
·All Cochon 555 Coverage [~ELA~]