Five of Houston's top chefs went head to head at Cochon555 a national culinary competition where heritage pig is the main event. For Houston's event, the competition was indeed intense: Justin Yu of Oxheart, Jean-Philippe Gaston of Izakaya, David Cordua of Americas, Richard Knight of Hunky Dory and William Wright of Helen Greek Food and Wine.
Held at the JW Marriott downtown, Justin Yu took home the prize with his presentation Chinese soft bread with whipped fat; dan dan noodles with poached pork belly; red oil dumplings with dirty-rice pork stuffing; Spanish tortilla with roasted pork; and a spicy hot dog with shrimp mayonnaise.
Here's what the other Houston Cochon555 chefs prepared:
Jean-Philippe Gason of Izakaya (working with Swabian Hall pig): Country pate of tongue and cheek; dirty rice congee with liver and kidney; "Spam" nigiri sushi; mapo tofu; menudo noodles with pig feat meat and broth; and smoked pork shoulder.
David Cordua of Americas (working with a Hereford hog): Honey-glazed chicharron; pork belly kolache; chicken-fried pork terrine; carnitas; chorizo and yucca turnover; sweet corn tamale with lard frosting and candied pig ear.
Richard Knight of Hunky Dory (working with a Gloucester Black Spot): meringue filled with creamy pork liver mousse; black pudding wrapped in pastry; English banger and egg yolk in lard puff pastry; cavatelli with bratwurst, mustard greens and shaved pig's head; and marinated pork heart with carrots.
William Wright of Helen Greek Food and Wine (working with a Large Black hog): Fried head cheese olives; slow-cooked pork leg and pork scratchings with black eyed peas; pork fat flatbread; blood sausage dolmades; and bacon baklava.
Congrats, Chef Yu.