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Monday, June 15, 2009

Offal Talented: Poggio Chef Named Winner of Sunday's Cochon 555

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 4:28 PM

click to enlarge Trotter Tots with pea-brain aioli, one of Peter McNee's winning dishes. - LAIKO BAHRS
  • Laiko Bahrs
  • Trotter Tots with pea-brain aioli, one of Peter McNee's winning dishes.
Call him the dark horse: Poggio's Peter McNee was named Prince of Porc at the Fairmont last night, nosing out four chefs to take the crown (well, funky pig trophy) in the latest Cochon 555 challenge. McNee had been considered the underdog in the competition, which seeks to hype heritage pork varieties.

In the six days before the event, McNee and Poggio sous chef Ian Banks turned a 110-pound Berkshire pig (raised by Devils Gulch Ranch farmer Mark Pasternak in West Marin) into a rather disturbing, reportedly delicious collection of cooked and cured dishes. There was Tongue in Cheek (a rolled pig's-head terrine), Trotter Tots (crispy fried croquettes, seasoned with pigskin salt and served with an aioli of peas and brains), Pig Haggis (stomach stuffed with blood and offal), and Dolce Forte (sweet pig's liver mousse with chocolate ganache).

Other contenders: Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, Nate Appleman of A16, Staffan Terje of Perbacco, and Ravi Kapur of Boulevard. Some 300 attendees weighed in on their favorites; so did a judges' panel that included Nancy Oakes, Bruce Aidells, and a collection of pork farmers.

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