*Photo Credit: Cochon555
It’s no secret that I love a good food festival (the bigger the better!) so I was pretty excited to hear about Banff becoming the next stop on the Cochon555 circuit. This is HUGE news for our premiere mountain town and for Alberta as well because Cochon555 is the FIRST Canadian destination for this dramatic food festival. Previous stops on the Cochon555 circuit have included New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas with two more (in Minneapolis and Seattle) before the festival hits Banff on April 28. Each event is a mini competition with the finale, the Grand Cochon, being held in Chicago on September 30.
Banff brings the excitement of COCHON555 to Western Canada — pairing food lovers, local producers, chefs and judges with one of North America’s most important culinary gatherings — with its setting, venues and warm hospitality.
What is Cochon555?
Cochon555 is exactly what it’s name implies…5 pigs, 5 chefs, and 5 winemakers celebrating the humble pig. Each chef is given an ethically sourced heritage pig from a local farmer specializing in heritage breeds. Throughout this 3 hour epic nose to tail competition, over 1500 kilograms of pork and over 35 courses will be served by the local chefs.
Run of Events
● One week prior to the event, chefs receive a 200-pound heritage breed pig to prep and cook.
● Hundreds of guests along an expert panel of judges will determine the winner, based on their
whole pig cookery skills .
● Guests will enjoy fare by other local chefs paired with boutique distillers, artisan winemakers and
● The chef’s “Judge’s Plate” is scored for use, method and overall flavor.
● Guests vote for the “best bite of the day”.
● The winning “Prince or Princess of Pork” in Banff advances to the North American finale, Grand
Cochon: a head-to-tail, winner-takes-all showdown for the crown in Chicago on September 30.
The participating Chefs are:
- Host Chef JW Foster of The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and its Vermillion Room Brasserie & Bar
- Chef Shelley Robinson of Banff Hospitality Collective
- Co-Chefs Connie DeSousa and John Jackson of CHARCUT and charbar
- Chef Randy Luft of the Rimrock Resort Hotel
- Chef Matthias Fong of River Cafe
They are paired with these farmers (in order):
- Malorie Aubé of Country Accent Heritage Breeds who present a Mangalitsa/Duroc heritage pig.
- Mark Lahoda and Antonio Matriz of Alberta Pork Company/Sunhaven Farms present a Camborough 22 – Duroc/Berkshire heritage pig.
- Allan and Joanne Vanden Broek of Broek Pork Acres who raise the popular Berkshire heritage pigs.
- Jessica and Chris Fasoli of Bear and the Flower Farm who raise a combination breed of Duroc/Landrace/Berkshire heritage pigs.
- Danny and Shannon Ruzicka of Nature’s Green Acres who raise Tamworth heritage pigs.
There’s So Much to See and Do!
Besides the tasty treats and sensational sips, guests are invited to learn more about Heritage breeds and local farming practices. Running in tandem are two satellite beverage competitions to complement the whole-animal competition. They feature local bartenders and sommeliers: Punch Kings is a whole bottle, large-format spirit competition featuring five top barkeeps in a
hand-crafted punch challenge and Somm Smackdown is a face-off of five top sommeliers pairing the best wine with heritage pig.
A portion of all event sales benefit two charities – Piggy Bank and the Banff Food Bank.
Sounds like a great event! Wow! I’ll have to check it out. Would love to be able to go.
I know! I love food festivals and Calgary just does not have enough…sure there’s BurgerBattle, Tacofiesta, and Pizzaweek but I would like to see more weekend only festivals…especially in the summer and outside!
Having grown up in a small town myself, I can totally understand your excitement, Bernice! I’m so glad you’ll get to experience this event. It really does look like a ton of fun. I haven’t been to a food festival in ages, which is really sad considering I now live in Raleigh, NC and the food scene here is incredible. Shame on me! I think it’s because I now face the other extreme: there are so many food festivals all the time, that it’s like, meh! We’ll go. Eventually. They’ll be there.
I hope you have fun!
We have a few food festivals here too but I’m mostly excited for this one because it’s specifically featuring Heritage Pork Breeds and highlighting local farmers that produce them. It’s very rare that I know what breed of pork I’m eating…let alone having the chance to compare the characteristics of several breeds in one place! What kind of food festivals are near Raleigh?