I recently had the wonderful opportunity to experience in VIP style one of North America’s most exciting epic culinary events Cochon555 Banff as it made it’s way to one of the world’s most awe-inspiring mountain destinations Banff Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada.
THE DESTINATION: BANFF & LAKE LOUISE, ALBERTA
It’s no wonder the first Canadian debut of this event was hosted by Banff National Park, one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations known for mountainous surroundings, hot springs and extensive outdoor sports such as hiking, biking, scrambling and skiing.
For me, Banff is a only a quick 1.5 hour drive from door to door but other foodie fans from all over North America travelled to this park to take in pristine wilderness and breathtaking sights while surrounded by vibrant history and culture.
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/Paula Zizka PhotographyPhoto by Reuben KrabbeBanff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography. Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Jake DysonBanff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography. Banff & Lake Louise Tourism / Paul Zizka Photography.
When I asked what inspired Banff and Cochon555 to partner together, Angela Anderson of Banff & Lake Louise Tourism said, “With Banff National Park’s diverse, inspired, and dynamic food scene, it becomes the ideal host to Cochon555’s debut in Canada. With the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs hotel as its location, the event is going to fuse together incredible chef talent, the highest-quality Albertan produce, and prominent sommeliers and distillers from the region, to deliver a vibrant feast experience. To be the first Canadian destination to be added to the Cochon555 Tour, was an exciting opportunity for the wildly successful culinary competition and foodie event to take on a truly Canadian flavour”.
Brady Lowe, founder of Cochon555, who after the event stayed on to experience skiing at the mountain resort says he was thrilled to choose Banff as one of it’s stops during the annual North American city tour as it has always been on his travel bucket list.
THE EVENT: COCHON555
The mission of Cochon555 is to provide education to chefs and consumers so guests can experience honest food from real farmers. The goal is to raise the bar on building a sustainable and profitable relationship for brands and chefs participating in culinary festivals.
That beautiful Saturday morning we drove out to the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs hotel where Banff & Lake Louise Tourism and Cochon555 invited ticket holders to experience 5 chefs competing to best prepare and present one whole heritage bred pig sourced responsibly provided by 5 local farmers. Hundreds of foodies feasted on a Saturday afternoon for 3-4 hours on 1,500 pounds of heritage-bred pork and more local culinary creations where more than 35 courses were served while enjoying wine and local craft beer.
“We are excited about Banff and Lake Louise because of its extraordinary setting, progressive food culture and Alberta’s rich agricultural tradition, bounty, and care,” says Brady Lowe of Cochon555. “This event combines education and innovation in support of preserving the North American way of family farming. The impact is local, but it is also about the future – we want our children to be able to enjoy safer, more honest, and delicious food for years to come.”
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/COCHON555
THE 5 CHEFS AND 5 PIGS
5 local chefs are tasked with creating approximately 5 dishes each utilizing snout-to-tail cuts of heritage breed pigs sourced by 5 local farms. The chefs and farmers below teamed up to participate in the Cochon555 Banff competition.
COCHON555 BANFF CHEFS & FARMERS
THE WINNING CHEF: CHEF JW FOSTER
The winning “Prince or Princess of Pork” from the Banff competition advances to the North American finale: Grand Cochon. This head-to-tail, winner-takes-all showdown for the crown is hosted in Chicago on September 30 and sees 11 chefs compete.
Congratulations to Chef JW the winner of Cochon555 Banff 2018. His dishes that won the votes were as follows:
“Pop-Tart-Tin” – Back-Fat Pastry with Braised Apple, Maple-Bourbon Glaze and Smoked Bacon Candy Sprinkles
“Cuts and Glory” – Offal and House Sausage Haggis, Man’s Egg and Bier Mustard and Brain Aioli
“Piggy in the Park” – Ball Park Salsa Verde Tamale, Pork Fat, Popcorn Lime Zest and Smoked Cholula Charon
“Mexican Carnivale” – Pork Loin Salsa Verde Tamale, Pork Fat, Popcorn Lime Zest and Smoked Cholula Charon
“Hog in the Broth” – Hock and Head Bone Bamboo Ash Wonton Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger Dumplings, Shitake Mushroom, Fried Egg Noodel and Scallion
“Eat Me Irish Coffee” – Espresso-Dark Chocolate Blood Brownie and Bailey’s Irish Cream & Blood Truffle served on a stick
Banff & Lake Louise Tourism/COCHON555
*This post was in partnership with Banff Lake Louise and Cochon555. All opinions are my own.