Let’s Talk About Pork with a Pedigree
Cochon555 road show celebrates heritage pigs
The moveable feast Cochon555 sprang from a desire to keep conversations about sustainably raised heritage-breed pork going and growing, to the benefit of farmers struggling to keep their family businesses alive, restaurants looking to source exceptional ingredients and consumers wanting to know more about where their food comes from.
Since 2008 Cochon555 has been touring the country as an annual “nose-to-tail” culinary compe-tition where local chefs battle it out utilizing the whole hog. Cochon555 is coming back to Hous-ton this February 28. Edible Houston Publisher Kim Korth met with chef and Cochon555 founder Brady Lowe to talk about expectations and growing appreciation for the good meat.
Kim Korth: You’ve been doing this tour for seven years now. Looking back, what was the thing that surprised you the most?
Brady Lowe: People are surprised about the amount of time it takes farmers to raise and deliver product and it is not an easy process. Chefs are working directly with farmers—doing business with a handshake is much harder than picking up a cell phone, calling a company and ordering pig boxes. To see chefs connect with farmers developing really amazing relationships that comes out in every bite.
KK: What are the biggest challenges to getting heritage pork into the mainstream? Will we ever get to a point that heritage pork is more of the norm?
BL: Heritage-breed pork is more aligned with a super artisan bakery— you’re kinda asking will the best chocolate cake you remember having be in every grocery store? It just won’t, it’s always going to be a very small fraction of what is available but will yield the biggest reward when people go searching for it. The conversation about it will be more of the norm. Once peo-ple understand what it is they can make the decision about buying it or serving it understanding it’s a premium product. We need more farmers dedicated to heritage breeds to make it more ac-cessible. The average farmer raises 250 pigs per year, and there aren’t that many of them.
KK: What are two main messages you’d like people to leave this event with?
BL: For the general public and foodies: Heritage-breed pig is more flavorful and is worth every penny. Every penny you spend on it has a direct connection to family farmers. No one else is farming heritage pigs. If you buy heritage pig you are supporting family farms. It is that direct. It is also a gateway to better appreciation. Once you have tasted sustainably raised heritage pork you’re destined to have a better appreciation of where your food comes from, of what’s honest in food, safer in food and therefore better for you.
KK: How can we (Houstonians in general, and Edible Houston in particular) contribute to continuing the enthusiasm this unique event creates?
BL: Eat more heritage pig! Eat it as often as you can get your hands on it. Eat it all the time.”
Cochon555 (cochon555.com) is in Houston Sunday February 28 at the JW Marriott (806 Main St.). VIP hour starts at 4pm. General admission starts at 5pm.