The mighty Ossabaw, courtesy original drawing by Stephanie Voight (DASH 2013)
The highly anticipated futuristic saga hits theaters March 23, but our tournament of survival begins now as Michael and Bradley strategize how to tame a 200 pound hog they have never worked with in the kitchen before: the Ossabaw.
I’m speaking of course of their upcoming entry in the Cochon 555 competition, hitting Miami on April 1 at the Four Seasons Brickell. To satisfy my curiosity about the main ingredient all of which they must use to wow 20 judges and a ravenous crowd, I rang hog farmer and owner of Black Hill Ranch, Felix Florez, a sommelier by trade, but now passionately converted to raising seven breeds of hog, with the perfect hog in the works, on his 10 acre ranch in Houston, Texas. His family had always been into cattle ranching, but it was his work in the restaurant business since about 18 years old that ultimately led him to his calling.
“Because I’ve been in restaurants so long one of the things I noticed is how much product we were bringing from outside, and it never made sense to me why we weren’t using more that was local,” he explains. “So I made up my mind to get a piece of land and put animals on it and do what the best ranchers in the world were doing. I did a lot of studying what they were doing in Spain and Iowa.”
Heritage Pork: The un-white meat is marbled with delicious fat.
Come to mama.
Let the games begin! Cochon 555, one serious traveling competition bringing chefs and winemakers together to raise awareness of the goodness of heritage pork, made the even smarter decision to bring the U.S. tour in its fourth year (finally!) to South Florida. And with bacon as our witness, WE ARE READY!
Our Genuine Dream Team representing will be chef/owner Michael Schwartz and @MGFD_MIA chef de cuisine Bradley Herron. As Michael shared when we shot our TV pilot in fall 2010, inspired by working with Jim Wood’s Palmetto Creek Farm Hereford hogs, “I don’t know where this The Other White Meat moniker came from, but it’s not working for me.” We hope we get a chance to work with his locally-raised and slaughtered product for this event.
As reported by Eater yesterday, “The ten city nose-to-tail event kicks off on January 22nd in New York City, with the winner of each city going on to compete for the title of King (or Queen) of Porc at the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen on June 17, 2012.” See chef Bradley’s reaction when he heard the news, below, and stay tuned for ticket sales to go live for the April 1, 2012 match-up, on the Cochon 555 website.