Folks who pay attention to their food sources have two events to look forward to this week: Cochon 555 and the Farm to Table Conference.
The pigtastic Cochon 555 is on Saturday. This touring event was founded to raise awareness of heritage-breed pigs and pits five chefs in a competition to create the tastiest dishes using all of the pig, snout to tail. Taking on the challenge are Restaurant Iris’ Kelly English; Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen; Lee Richardson from Little Rock; Chris Hastings from Birmingham; and Kevin Nashan from St. Louis.
Each of the chefs is given a different heritage-breed pig. They then create five or so dishes, which in past events have ranged from the classic (smoked shoulder) to the ridiculous (pig’s blood popsicle). Guests can sample bites from all the chefs and vote on their favorites. Toward the end of the evening, it’s a family meal, featuring yet another whole hog, prepared by a noncompeting local: Ryan Trimm of Sweet Grass.
On Monday, the second Farm to Table Conference will be held at BioWorks. This daylong event brings together farmers, consumers, business people, and other interested parties to discuss the local food system. Topics include CSAs, the Farm Bill, and getting local produce into schools. There will also be a screening of Cafeteria Man, a documentary about Memphis City Schools food director Tony Geraci and his time in the Baltimore school system. A Q&A session with Geraci follows the screening.