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Cochon 555: Guts, Glory and Gluttony in Napa

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[Photo: Huge Galdones/Cochon 555]

Yesterday, after much scrutiny and hacking of pig, Lars Kronmark of the Culinary Institute of America was crowned the winner of the Napa edition of Cochon 555. The competition was formidable with reigning champs (a.k.a. Cochon King and Queen of Porc) Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Zazu battling to defend their title. Other chefs leading teams of cooks and chefs were One Market's Mark Dommen, Michael Mina's Chris L'Hommedieu, and Michael Tuohy of Dean & Deluca. Take in the Hangover Observations from the "contest"-cum-gorge-fest after the hop.

· 450 attendees, eight total pigs, 1,350 pound of pig, and 30 culinary students made the event happen. All told, $1100 was raised for CIA student scholarships.

· Cochon founder Brady Lowe says this year's standing ovation for the winner at the after party was the contest's first ever. "The whole town was there," he added.

· Outfitted in custom t-shirts painted by a West Oakland artist, team Mina created a picnic bag for guests and made "tables" for eating out of ironing boards. People kept coming back for the blood red devil cupcake.

· Proving at least for a day that bacon sweets aren't just a passing fad, Zazu's big hit was a peanut butter bacon cup.

· The Alembic's Daniel Hyatt was on had from Alembic shaking cocktails in a Mason jar with a lid.

· Apparently the crowd needed the extra whole pig prepared by Smokeville and The Whole Beast. People we're lining up to devour it.

· On the CIA's winning plate: "Burning Love" with onion bacon sauce and offal, roasted and stuffed trotters, hard-cider cured mule foot ham cooked in straw, mortadella smorrebrood, and—perhaps the star bite of the day—St. Croix pork fritters with beet jam.

· One Market's Mark Dommen had an extra workout due to some power issues. He had to run up to the CIA kitchens to finish up some of his dishes.

· Handle-upon-handle of rye and bourbon we're consumed. Anchor and Magnolia breweries provided the brews.

· Cochon will be touching down in San Francisco on May 20th. If you're not afraid to let a little pig seep out of your pores for a day, tickets can be found here.

· All Cochon 555 Coverage [~ ESF ~]

One Market Restaurant

1 Market Street, , CA 94105 (415) 777-5577 Visit Website

Culinary Institue of America, Greystone Campus

2555 Main Street St. Helena, CA