The Importance of Heritage Breed Meats / Highlights of Cochon 555's Heritage Fire Napa 2016

A few weeks ago, over 3,500 pounds of heritage breed animals were cooked over live fires by fifty top chefs at Cochon 555's Heritage Fire Napa. The event took place at the beautiful Charles Krug Winery in St Helena. 

My super awesome friend Ben of Focus Snap Eat was invited as a media guest and he took me along for the journey. For three hours, we ate a ridiculous amount of heritage breed meats and washed it all down with the best local wine and craft brews. 

There's no other food event that I've been more excited about to attend than Heritage Fire. I am a supporter of the movement that this event stands for. When given the choice, I will pick a heritage breed over commercial breed of livestock any day. Heritage breeds are raised on open pasture, free of antibiotics and growth hormones. It's an important part of our food ecosystem that results in diversity of quality and taste. 

Cochon 555 founder Brady Lowe is the man behind this incredible movement to shine the gastronomic spotlight on the farms who are raising heritage breed animals and the emerging chefs and restaurants who highlight them in their dishes. The core mission of Cochon 555 is to drive awareness and demand for these products so it encourages farmers and ranchers to breed more animals to meet demand for their products. 

Check out the photos below for a recap of my experience at Heritage Fire Napa 2016. 

A video posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

A video posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

It was really cool to see all the different techniques used to cook these animals whole. I have much respect and admiration for this method of cooking. It ain't easy and requires a lot of attention and time to tend to to the fire. 

Badass Chef Sophina Uong in action with her flavorful roast chicken and Indonesian dirty rice made with chicken livers/offal. Even the veggies with the eggs were cooked on the fire for the gado-gado. This was one of the best highlights of the event. No other dish at the event could even come close to the sophisticated flavors and creativity of Sophina's dish. And she definitely wins in the beautifully plated category in my eyes. 

The wagyu bresaola.  

I've been following Master Salumist Tony Incontro of Del Dotto Winery for awhile on Instagram and it was so great to finally meet him in person and taste his cured creations. 

Tony greeted me with a warm hug and then he pulled out this beautiful house-cured prosciutto and starts slicing into it, check out the video below. It tasted just as beautiful as it looked and washes down extremely well with a glass of Del Dotto's jammy and full-bodied pinot noir. Give me a lounge chair and I could have easily spent all three hours here.  

My favorite bite out of the entire evening was Tony's mangalitsa lardo with peach and shaved truffle. I had so many of these velvety bites that even my water eventually tasted like lardo. Tony's charcuterie is truly unforgettable. I am definitely making a reservation at Del Dotto in the near future. 

A video posted by Brenda Ton Linkous (@nerb) on

Chef Jenny Chamberlain of Hudson Valley Foie Gras speeding through the fire area with her duck tacos and kindly stops for us so we can take a photo of her. 

Zazu Kitchen served up a fantastic country-style pork pate and beef tongue porchetta. 

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I wish I had known that all the meat at the butcher's demo stage were priced for sale. I definitely would have brought a cooler with me. 

Northern Thai rabbit sausage with little gems, nam prik, and roasted peanuts by Chef Matthew Williams and Moishe Hahn-Shuman of Ramen Gaijin

Chef Marc Zimmerman of Alexander's Steakhouse served up 100 lbs of killer 45 day aged creekstone beef and I got a nice bone out of it.

Cochon 555 puts up events across the nation, check out their events here: http://cochon555.com/ 

Thanks for having us as your guests, Brady and the Cochon 555 team! 

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