Chef Andre Gomez from Porch Light Latin Kitchen and Cochon 555
This Sunday June 25th the Ritz Carlton will be full of pigs, in a good way. Cochon 555 will be making its way through Atlanta Georgia on its National tour. Stopping in major cities crowning Prince and Princesses of Porc while also donating to the festivals cause the Piggy Bank. Five local chefs partner with five local farms and receive a heritage pig from their respective farm. The chefs then have to prepare different dishes using the pig from snout to tail.
I sat down with one of the local chefs that will be participating in the friendly competition. Andre Gomez owns and operates Porch Light Latin Kitchen in Smyrna, Georgia. Andre grew up in Puerto Rico and his menu is representative of his home. When I asked him what he planned on doing to make his dishes stand out from the others he stated very mater of factly, "add some of my Puerto Rican flavor". He is going to use plantains in all of the dishes from savory to sweet to showcase those flavors.
Chef Andre's pig was chosen for him and is a Duroc heritage breed from River View Farms. He explained that when they say "heritage" pigs, the pigs are old breeds that were brought over to America from England and their lineage has been preserved and bred over time keeping their flavor and quality intact. Andre states that the marbling and fat on the pig is richer and the meat will be much more intense as opposed to a "factory pig" that most people are used to eating. Chef Andre does a whole roast pig at his restaurant and uses a White Cheshire Hog which is also a heritage breed.
A lot of the proceeds from Cochon 555 will go their charity Piggy Bank which helps farmers who want to breed and raise heritage pigs for now and future generations to continue to enjoy these sustainable and quality hogs.
Chef Andre and I are so excited for this festival and when I asked him what his first decree would be if he were crowned Prince of Porc he laughed exclaimed, "Hail bacon and long live the lard!!". I think he would suit that title well.