All-Star Cochon Chefs Imagine a World Without Pigs

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Chef Portland

Portland chef Andy Ricker prepares pork-focused Thai food at All-Star Cochon.

On July 24, Brady Lowe culminated three years of pork-fueled Cochon 555 events with All-Star Cochon, which featured 11 past winners/fan favorites and four renowned butchers in The Cosmopolitan’s Chelsea Ballroom. I asked all 11 chefs at the Super Bowl of Pork a series of questions, including “What would the world be like without pigs?” Their responses may surprise you.

Alex Seidel Fruition Restaurant

We wouldn’t be able to create as much good food as we do. Simple things, like there are a lot of lovers of bacon. Can you imagine going and having a breakfast sandwich without bacon?

Devin Knell (The French Laundry)

No BLTs…actually, it’s such an amazing animal, it’s an incredibly versatile animal. I think she really explained it well. It’s more than just food. There are so many products that come from pigs that it really would be different. Heart valves. Skin grafts. All sorts of things. But from a culinary standpoint, it’s one of the broadest canvases available as far as a protein is concerned, for a cook to utilize. You really can apply it in so many different ways, and it has so many different flavors, textures, styles of cooking. You can cook it really, really quickly on a grill, or you can braise it. Some of the components of this dish have been braised for 48 hours. It’s a different animal than most. Beef, you can do a lot with it, but it’s much more challenging, and it’s much more wasteful.

Jeremy Fox (Vegetable Prospector)

I would have a lot less décor in my apartment [referring to his pig memorabilia].

David Varley (Michael Mina Group)

I’ve never actually contemplated that question, but it sounds like it would be the saddest day of my life. The pig is so integral to the cooking that I do that the thought of having that variety of options taken away from me as a culinarian, I would never be excited about that.

Jamie Bissonnette (Coppa) / (Toro)

I’d be a lot skinnier…It’d be hard. I love working with whole animals, I love butchering pigs, I love hanging out with pigs. I love everything about them.

Mark Ladner (Del Posto)

It would be lean…It would be leaner.

Andy Ricker (Pok Pok)

Well I’d probably be skinnier, first of all, and I think probably three-quarters of the things that I eat wouldn’t taste the same anymore.

John Stewart (Zazu)

It would be flat and boring. We’re kind of all about the pig.

Mary Dumont (Harvest)

For centuries, pigs have been either modes of transportation and so versatile in so many different cultures. It would be a very different place, that’s for sure.

John Sundstrom (Lark)

It would be a sad, sad world, and devoid of flavor.

Stephanie Izard (Girl and the Goat)

Life would be a lot less flavorful, I would say.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

Excellent interview and great photo!

Love the question…fun article , the event was insane !


Glad you like the article. Thanks. Great meeting you at a memorable event.

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