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Naomi Pomeroy Crowned Princess of Porc at Cochon 555

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[Avila, 3/11/12]

1,200 pounds of pork later, Beast's Naomi Pomeroy was crowned the winner at last night's Cochon 555 cooking competition, which rolled into town once again to celebrate heritage breed pigs and give folks a worthy excuse to eat a shit-ton of pork and drink bourbon. Pomeroy bested follow chefs Vitaly Paley (Paley's Place), Adam Sappington (The Country Cat), Jason Barwikowski (The Woodsman Tavern), and Rita Jia You (Lucky Strike) for the right to rep Portland in the "Grand Cochon" event later this year in Aspen.

1. Each chef served up five dishes to the tasting public. Pomeroy's winning plate featured a foie-gras poached pork loin (sous-vide "ghetto-style," according to Pomeroy, since the Beast kitchen lacks a sous vide machine); a take on BBQ with a smoked pork shoulder served on a mini-roll, and a chocolate-y pork pudding for dessert. Pomeroy's judges plate was even more ambitious, with three additional items upping her total to eight bites.

2. Part of Vitaly Paley's presentation, meanwhile, took an unexpected detour into Asian flavors, with several members of the judging panel dubbing his "black pudding" soup dumpling the best bite of the night.

3. Seriously, the best dishes tend to come in ramekins. In addition to Paley's soup, a spicy pork and potato stew by Jia You and a BBQ baked beans dish by Sappington were other standouts. It can thus be deduced that the secret weapon to culinary success: ramekins.

4. Fire alarms at the Original went off after things got smoky in the main hall, thanks to Jason Barwikowski sizzling up his smoky house-made kielbasa.

5. Chefs from both Portland and Seattle turned out to participate on the pre-event judging panel. John Sundstrom (Lark) and Jason Stratton (Spinasse) repped Seattle chefs, while Cathy Whims, Tommy Habetz, David Anderson, Greg Denton, Tobias Hogan, and Ethan Powell all showed up to help judge their peers. Food folk Mark Bitterman (the Meadow) and David Briggs (Xocolatl de David) also cast votes in the judge's round.

6. Proving that Salt & Straw aren't the only folk making totally unexpected ice cream flavors, Team Lucky Strike served up a lard cone filled with a hazelnut ice cream full of surprise peppercorn bites — and topped with pork.

7. Unofficial award for most entertaining judges presentation goes to Adam Sappington, who proudly dubbed a dish component "MILF-style ranch dressing," described his popular potted Judy dish as one inspired by a woman his grandfather "probably had an affair with," and frequently dropped f-bombs. For example, of a dish that featured buttermilk slow buns stuffed with chili: "Jackie put 15 hours into those fucking buns."
· All Previous Cochon 555 Coverage [Eater PDX]

Lucky Strike Chinese Restaurant

3862 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97214 Visit Website