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Mar 3, 2011 12:04 PM

Is Cochon 555 worth it?

Cochon 555 in Napa is this Sunday, and I was wondering if any 'hounds who went to one of their events last year if they felt it was worth it ($125)? I love learning new things and eating tasty food, especially fatty pork, but wasn't sure if this would be up my alley.

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  1. This is a good question, so I'm going to reply to bump it up the board. FWIW, the one person I talked to who had gone was not impressed.

    1. Went to the Silverado Resort event last year. Did the VIP package and stayed the night, so it was like a little mini vacation. Was a cool and relaxed way to enjoy the event, but it cost a pretty penny. Don't think I would find it worth 125 bucks to drive back and forth to Napa the same night just to participate in the feeding frenzy that characterizes the main event. If you absolutely want to try it, it may be more convenient to wait for the event at the SF Ferry Building in June.

      8 Replies
      1. re: nocharge

        Thanks nocharge & Ruth! Nocharge: are you saying you would pay $125 for the SF event and think it's worth it? "Feeding frenzy" sounds a bit scary, but not sure if you mean it in a good way or a bad way.

        I'll be overnighting in Napa anyway for a company event so was just wondering if it was worth my while to go to Cochon 555 while I was there, or if my time was better spent visiting a few wineries, which is always lots of fun.

        1. re: PekoePeony

          It was a feeding frenzy in a bad way. It had too many people, only some of the food was interesting and good, and there were not enough tables to perch at and eat. For $125, I would have been happy if we'd had assigned seats, so we could leave a glass of wine or a plate of food at the table while we waited for more, but it was a continual juggling act trying to avoid spilling wine and food while other equally frustrated people politely jostled each-other.

          After we'd tasted something from each chef, we decided we'd had enough and went to Ubuntu for some real food.

          1. re: SteveG

            This was exactly our experience and we even went in with the VIPs!

          2. re: PekoePeony

            I'd say $125 is pretty steep regardless of the location. SteveG's description captures the negative aspect of the experience.

          3. re: nocharge

            FYI the location for Cochon 555 on Sunday June 5 in SF has been moved from the Ferry Building to the Julia Morgan Ballroom at Merchants Exchange
            465 California Street, San Francisco, 94104

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Just read that San Francisco event is sold out.

              Pig Lovers in SF --We're sold out for #Cochon555 SF! Sorry 4 U last minute louies. But we'll Tweet live today!


              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Perceptor posted on the LA event on the LA board with his as usual great photo show

                1. re: wew

                  Thank you. The SF event yesterday was indoors on a gray day so the lighting for photos was not nearly as lovely as in LA. My shots here,

                  And the winner of Cochon555 San Francisco is Chef Matt Accarrino of SPQR. The ratings of the 20 judges were combined with the People's Choice votes to choose the winner. For me, this was a close race. Chef Accarrino was the last of the five chefs to present his food, and it says a lot that as full as I was by that point, I really wanted to eat everything he made!

                  1911 Fillmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115

          4. I'm going because I love the chefs involved (Mary Dumont is here from the East Coast and used to work in Sonoma) and the wineries and, well, now I live up here after recently moving out of the city and want to participate in as many of these types of events as I can.

            4 Replies
            1. re: CarrieWas218

              Here is a VERY quick report... I was really lucky to get in early with the VIPs which allowed some pre-tasting of oysters, caviar, cheese, and bacon along with wines not being poured in the main room. It also allowed for getting into the main room 15 minutes early so I was able to his the Duskie Estes and John Stewart's station right off the bat which was beneficial (a waffle with bacon, a chili, pulled pork on rice, and a pate).

              After that, there were long lines for the five food stations -- many of which were serving five and six different dishes so it took a lot for them to get that much plated as people were standing there waiting...

              As others have stated, the seating is the HUGE problem. Instead of the multiple stand-around tables, there were only ten 8-tops for sit-down eating -- not enough for the 300+ people who were there. What this meant was that one person in a party would sit at a table and "save seats" while others were wandering around, trying to figure out where to eat - usually at the clean-up stands that were placed for the waiters to utilize for trash.

              I ended up only standing in three lines; Duskie's, Oenetri's from Napa (nothing but pates and charcuterie), and Plum's which offered six different dishes - several thickly-sliced roast pork with various accompaniments, a sausage, a pate, a FABULOUS sticky-toffee pudding from Deanie Hickox. I did get one course from Dave Cruz from ad hoc, a gelee with pork products and a pate as they were too busy plating the judge's plates and I didn't want to wait in the line later for the rest of their offering.

              The problems? Loud mediocre dance music in an acoustic setting that definitely did not work for the area, the seating (or lack thereof), and poorly-designed courses wherein on plastic forks and spoons were available (you need a knife for a 3" hunk of pork).

              The main room opened up for guests a little before 5:00 p.m. I was out of there and home by 6:00 and happy to have left early without bothering tasting everything or dealing with the crowds and lack of seating.

              1. re: CarrieWas218

                I was temtped, when I read the premise, to attend the SF date in the Summer, but it seems to be run by a bunch of catering amateurs. It ain't cheap and I don't want to fight the hordes everytime I'm looking to sit anywhere to eat...I'll pass.

                1. re: CarrieWas218

                  Thanks for the great report, CarrieWas218! Sounds like there was terrific food but an overall mad house scene, so I'm glad we skipped. For $125 I can get a pretty good sit-down dinner -- hope the Cochon 555 guys can fix the logistics and make it an overall much better experience for everyone.

                  1. re: PekoePeony

                    I spoke with a CIA instructor who was working the event and complained about the lay out. Interestingly, I bumped into him a week later and he investigated my concerns (as he could see how badly planned it was with people eating on clearing trays) and the response was that it was Cochon People who specifically requested that type of set-up.

                    He told me they wanted people to wander and mingle so unless they are reading these concerns on this board, the rest of the events they have scheduled will be set up in the same format and be equally as atrocious!

              2. Cochon 555 in Washington DC. Way overcrowded, Really long lines, As part of the VIP, they only had a few bottles of wine and ran out, so we had to wait until they opened up the main event to get more wine. Very poorly organized. Tables were squeezed into small areas, Even VIP group was herded and crowded into a small space and once eveyone else arrived, it was just Too many people, too much trouble, not enough food, not enough space, Not very enjoyable.
                Would spend my money at other Food and Wine Events in the future.