Chubby Dog Farm's inaugural wattle-litsa litter and culinary debut was a victory! The amazing Chef Hori of Houston's Kata Robata worked magic with our pig and won the Cochon555 2017 Houston competition.

"Cochon555 is a nose-to-tail competition dedicated to supporting family farmers and educating chefs and diners about the agricultural importance of utilizing Old World livestock. We work with every type of restaurant and bar imaginable – Mom-and-Pop, farm-to-table, BBQ, Michelin star – and our participating chefs all share one core value: they source products responsibly. Our epic 2017 culinary tour starts in New York City and culminates with the finale, Grand Cochon."

 Chef Hori and his staff breaking down our pig

Chef Hori and his staff breaking down our pig

We were incredibly honored to be a part of Cochon555. Calvin happened upon a Facebook post on Ritual's page about the event. He went to the website, filled out an application to submit a pig, and within a couple of days, we were in. A week before the event, we delivered the pig to the butcher, and then delivered it to Chef Hori at Kata Robata the following day. He treated us to an incredible lunch where we were treated like VIP's.

So the micro vacation was scheduled. Two nights at The Lancaster, dinner with friends on Saturday at Pass & Provisions, and Cochon555 Sunday... a fantastic culinary weekend. We knew that we were the underdogs, being a new farm, but we were going to ride the wave anyway and enjoy our true introduction to the culinary-meets-farm world... and our first vacation in over 4 years.

The event was decadent. Wine, spirits and food were overflowing at every turn. Although we could not judge, we were honored to witness the judging of each chef's offerings. Watching the expressions and hearing the audible moans was a treat in and of itself. Chef Hori showed such respect for our pig during his presentation to the judges that we felt respected as the farmers.

 Chef Hori's presentation

Chef Hori's presentation

Now it was our turn. The bites were luscious. Chef Felix's noodle soup, Chef Luis' chorizo grilled cheese, Chef Monica's sisig... oh the liver!, and Chef Bobby's al pastor on the turntable! But... let's have a little chit chat about Chef Hori's bites. The curry rice. The miso marinated collar. THE SHUMAI (dumpling)! Best bite of the day!

For two sometimes isolated, introverted farmers, having support from several of our friends attending the event was a big deal. We were so glad they could be there to experience the day with us. We spent the rest of the afternoon feasting and imbibing and mixed with farmers, chefs, foodies, event coordinators, and sommeliers.

 Our people...

Our people...

The weather was a bit of a challenge for this indoor/outdoor event, but the rain had cleared enough for us to enjoy the last hour or so outside. As Brady Lowe introduced the chefs, the thunder began to roll. The winner was about to be announced, and all I could think was that we were simply happy to be there. Then as if in a dream, I hear "Chef Hori of Kata Robata with a wattle-litsa from Chubby Dog Farm!" The tears came uncontrollably. All of the hard work and sacrifice, dirt and sweat, love for the animals and butchering of those animals... it was all rewarded in that single moment. Hugs. Photo ops. More hugs. We celebrated for a few minutes, as the weather gods gave us that. Then the skies opened up.

 With Chef Hori of Kata Robata

With Chef Hori of Kata Robata

We, as small farmers, are thankful for events such as Cochon555. We will stay true to our vision of ethically raised animals, even when people balk at our prices. We won't get rich being small farmers, but "we can care for our food from conception to table, feeling morally justified in eating every day, as well as improving the flavor for us and our neighbors", as in our mission statement.

Love,
Karyn

 

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