Zazu wins Cochon 555 Napa

Zazu chefs are the official pork prince and princess, now headed to Aspen

Duskie and John from Zazu with pig ear salumi

Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Sonoma County’s Zazu Restaurant + Farm, Bovolo and Black Pig Meat are now the official Prince and Princess of Pork.

On Sunday night, March 6, 2011, the porcine-loving chef couple took the win at Cochon 555 Napa after wowing participants and judges with dishes like pig heart pork bun, homemade mortadella, pig’s head cowboy beans, a chocolate bacon toffee pig lollipop, vinegar chicaronnes, bacon waffles and pineapple pork.

Take that, Alton Brown.

The national competition pitted five wine country chef teams against each other to creatively prepare one of five heritage breed pigs for a panel of 20 judges and more than 100 event participants. Competing against the popular Sonoma duo were teams from Yountville’s Ad Hoc, Plum in Oakland, Solbar in Calistoga and Oenotri in Napa.

Estes and Stewart were given their Red Wattle pig several days before the competition to prepare. Estes commented on her “Rookie of the Year” pork and pineapple dish, referring to her recent appearance on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef. Off camera, Brown apparently called her a pig “rookie” after her quick-fire dish of pork and pineapple failed to impress the judges. This time, however, the dish won her pork gold and let the world know what we in Sonoma County have long celebrated.

Says Stewart of the win: “We take our fun seriously. We had a blast coming up with the menu with our team. And our pig was good lookin! We hung with our pigs for inspiration and guidance every morning. We are psyched to party pig in Aspen! “The Cochon 555 competition continues on its national tour until June, when it returns to San Francisco for a final stop before the Aspen Food + Wine Festival. Winners from each city will compete in a final pork-off in Aspen — which this year will include our own Duskie and John.

Blodd sausage and tongue from Ad Hoc
Blodd sausage and tongue from Ad Hoc

The idea behind the event is to help bring national attention to heritage breed pigs and raise money for responsible local family farms who continue to raise them. Pigs from last night’s event included the Red Wattle from Walnut Keep Farm, Mangalista from Suisun Valley Farm, Berkshire from Newman Farms, Yorkshire from Christian Brothers Ranch and Duroc/Berkshire from the always fascinating Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch.

What else was on the menu?
– Crispy head to toe terrine, pork rind, corn dog, bahn mi and griebenshmalz filled pretzel from Brandon Sharp of Solbar
– Blood sausage inlaid with tongue and prunes, boudin blanc, pork rib, pot pie and bacon ice cream sandwiches from Dave Cruz of Ad Hoc
– Pate campagna, Boudin blanc, trotter and face porchetta, “Reuben and rye”, date cake with pork: Charlie Parker, Plum
– Blood sausage, pasta with blood sauce, boudin blanc, charcuterie, toast with lard, bacon shortbread, Curis Di Fede and tyler Rodde, Oenotri

Seen on the Scene:
– Hardy Wallace and the NPA crew
– Ziggy the Wine Gal
– Wine writer Leslie Sbrocco
– Chef Daniel Kedan, Peter Lowell’s (helping his former Ad Hoc crew)
– Doralice Handal, Cheese Shop of Healdsburg
– Chef Jeremy Fox, formerly of Ubuntu and Manresa (judge)
– Francis Ford Coppola (judge)
– Rancher Mark Pasternak (judge)
– Writer Michele Anna Jordan (judge)

BiteClub was one of the lucky folks to judge, but took her judging a bit too seriously and enthusiastically and is now suffering from what one writer referred to as “the meat sweats.” So you’ll forgive me if I duck out now and go eat a Saltine.

See all the images of the event. Click on a picture below…