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Food Festival West Loop West Town

When: April 24-26th

If you are down for heritage farming and roller-coasters of flavor; if you're excited by a culinary competition; or if you just love to eat pork, clear your weekend calendar. Cochon 555, the country’s most talked about culinary competition arrives in Chicago with an epic 3-day feast showcasing the best bites, chefs and who’s who of the good food movement. The goal, to celebrate family farms, heritage breed pigs and tilt the scales to favor today’s emerging chef community struggling to pay premium prices for safer, more flavorful food raised by real farmers.

Tickets for all events can be found at

Sunday, April 26, is the main event, Cochon 555, which features five chefs cooking five pigs in a friendly competition. This years competing chefs include Nathan Sears of The Radler, Nicole Pederson of Found Kitchen, John Manion of La Sirena Clandestina, Chris Marchino of Spiaggia Restaurant & Lounge and Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski of TÊTE Charcuterie. The five chefs, champions of whole hog utilization, will prepare a maximum of six dishes with hopes to win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. They will be preparing heritage breed pigs raised on local farms including Faith’s Farm, Inc., Triple S Farms, Catalpa Grove, LaPryor Farms and Slagel Family Farm

The weekend kicks-off on Friday, April 24, with the Chefs Course Dinner hosted at Nico Osteria and paired with the amazing Washington State Wines. Chef Erling Wu-Bower welcomes guest chefs, Jason Hammel, Gene Kato, Abe Conlon, Matthias Merges and Amanda Rockman and COCHON 555 founder, Brady Lowe for a seated five-course dinner. The three-hour culinary experience includes thoughtful chef introductions of each course ($150 all-inclusive) as they work together to prepare this special, one-night-only epicurean feast, emphasizing high-quality, local ingredients and responsible agriculture.

Saturday, April 25 spotlights Cochon 555s Large Format Feast, ($110 all-inclusive) a four-course meat feast hosted at TÊTE Charcuterie with Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski. The preview dinner, featuring St. Francis Winery, Anchor Distilling and Prosciutto di Parma, will celebrate family-raised beef and Duroc pork from Creekstone Farms. This epic “Big Beef vs. Heritage Pig” dinner series features notable chefs who are reinventing the traditional steakhouse experience to spotlight the growing popularity of heritage pork on steakhouse menus, ultimately setting course for a safer food system.

Also on Saturday, Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe will lead a special panel discussion on the husbandry culture at Pastoral’s 5th Annual Artisan Producer Festival at Chicago French Market (131 N Clinton St). Other panelists include Veronica Baetje, Owner & Cheesemaker at Baetje Farms, Cristiano Creminelli, Owner of Creminelli Fine Meats, Andy Hatch, Owner & Cheesemaker at Uplands Cheese, and Andrew Jones, Owner & Winemaker at Field Recordings. This is Pastoral’s 5th year hosting the Festival, created to make buying and eating great food and wine a fun, inviting and educational experience. The Festival is FREE and open to the public, and features nearly 100 producers of artisan cheese, bread, wine, charcuterie, confections, and more offering tastes of their products. For more information, visit the Artisan Producer Festival website.

Tickets for all events can be found at


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