Dry Creek chef new 'Prince of Pork': Chef Dustin Valette of The Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg was crowned the “Prince of Pork” at the Cochon 555 competition held in early March at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena.
The 10-city, traveling culinary competition was launched in 2009 to tout the benefits of eating heritage breed pigs.
Valette will go on to compete against the other nine cities' winners in the Grand Cochon at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic this June.
Valette and his team, dubbed “The Sultans of Swine,” created a menu that highlighted the prized Red Wattle pig from Walnut Keep farm. Menu items included everything from Chicharron Krispy Treats to Sweet Porchetta with Bacon Jam, Bone Marrow Custard and Toffee Skin.
Competing against Valette were host chef Patrick Clark of the Culinary Institute of America, Kelly McCown of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Jason Kupper of The Thomas in Napa and Cindy Pawlcyn of Mustards Grill in Napa. The chefs created a snout-to-tail feast from a wide range of whole, heritage-breed pigs.
The winner of the Grand Cochon in June will be crowned “King or Queen of Pork” and win a four-day wine excursion to Rioja, Spain.
Past Grand Cochon champions John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastopol stopped by the contest to serve up tastes of their award-winning bacon waffles, featuring Black Pig Meat Co. bacon.
At Cochon 555, Michael Jack Pazdon of Goose & Gander won the Punch Kings cocktail competition with Breckinridge Buck, a cocktail made with coriander, cinnamon, ginger, mint tea and African chiles.
For more information, go to cochon555.com.
Comfort fare at Red's Apple Roadhouse: Red's Apple Roadhouse has opened in the former Henweigh Cafe space on Highway 116, serving up a menu of homey, comfort foods like fried chicken with mashed potatoes, burgers and pulled pork sandwiches.