Colorado Restaurant Boom

Cochon555 returns to Denver on March 6, with a handful of Mile High chefs going whole hog for the title of “Prince of Porc.”

The cooking contest, held at the Ritz-Carlton Denver, benefits the Piggy Bank, a genetic sanctuary that supports heritage-breed hogs.

This is the eighth year for the event. The 18-city tour produces a champion at each stop, and is expected to draw 16,000 guests overall. The winners in each city will meet in Aspen-Snowmass on June 18 in a cook-off for the grand championship.

Participating chefs at the Denver event include Troy Guard of TAG, Nelson Perkins of Colt & Gray, Franco Ruiz of Fruition, Kyle Mendenhall of The Kitchen and Paul C. Reilly of Beast + Bottle.

The lineup of food is a pork-lover’s delight.

Each chef will prepare up to six dishes from a single hog. After the judging, guests will feast on those dishes. Wines and craft cocktails will accompany the bites, and diners can meet and mingle with chefs and local farmers.

The weekend event in Denver begins March 4, culminating with the March 6 cookoff. Previous winners include Jennifer Jasinski, who was named “Princess of Porc” at the 2014 contest.

Cochon555’s 2016 weekend launches on a Friday with the Late Night Asian Speakeasy at Cho77, a pan-Asian feast at the South Broadway restaurant. Saturday brings the Chef’s Course Dinner Series, a three-hour feast that starts with passed hors d’oeuvres and continues with a seated dinner.

Both dinners will be limited to 40 seats each night.

Tickets, at $125 per person, will be sold online at All proceeds benefit the Piggy Bank.

Cochon555 has raised more than $500,000 for food-related charities since 2009.