Category Archives: Video

Go Pig or Go Home

This weekend, JV and our sous chef, Ben, are headed to Philadelphia to partake in COCHON EPIC No.2 —  an ‘expression’ of Cochon 555 that showcases a one-time-only event, never to be replicated. Last year’s EPIC was held at the James Beard House in NYC and featured a pork-centric dinner paired with vintage Champagnes for 80 guests. This year, the event will be held on Sunday, July 28, at the Ritz-Carlton in Philly, where 20 local chefs will team up to prepare six whole heritage breed pigs (that’s more than 1500 pounds of pork!) from local farms to create a mouth-watering feast.

And unlike Cochon 555, EPIC is not a competition, but rather “a celebration of all the chefs, farmers and pork-enthusiasts Philly has to offer,” — per their website. Sounds pretty awesome, right? The good news is, if you’re lucky enough to be in the Philly area and are interested in stuffing your face with delicious pork for an evening, tickets are still available here.


Credit: Cochon555

JV was invited to participate as a National Chef, along with Matt Jennings of Farmstead in Providence, and Todd Mussman of Muss & Turners and Local Three in Atlanta. They will be preparing a collaborative menu to build enthusiasm for Cochon Heritage BBQ, a new Cochon event designed to feature the utilization of whole heritage breed pigs in BBQ communities across the nation. In preparation for the event, JV decided to spit-roast what’s called a “saddle-cut” of pork, meaning the loin, rib and belly are completely connected. Whoa.


Though cooking time was a bit of a guessing game, JV’s two main concerns were as follows: don’t burn the place down, and second, don’t break the spit; keep in mind — that’s nearly 100 pounds of pork hanging on for dear life!


He smothered the pork in a delicious rub of spices, brown sugar and garlic (see recipe below), and let it go for a good three hours, all while feeding and maintaining the fire with a combination of apple and cherry wood (for flavor/smoke) and white oak wood (for heat). The end result? You’ll have to watch the video to find out ;)

EPIC Pork Rub Recipe:


For every pound of pork use …

  • 1 T. coriander seed
  • 1 T. dill seed
  • 1 T. fennel seed
  • 1 T. whole juniper
  • 1 T. whole allspice
  • 1 T. whole clove
  • 1 T. mustard seed
  • 2 T. black pepper corn
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced


Crush spices together using a mortar and pestle, and then combine them with the salt, sugar and garlic. Rub this mixture on the pork and let sit for 2 days. Try using this rub on a pork loin that’s roasted in a hot oven, about 450 degrees F.

New Friends

Talk about good company! I just wanted to give you guys a link to some websites and Twitter feeds for now. I’m planning on getting all of these guys really drunk in Aspen, and then I’ll have some real dirt to spill (especially on Gaudet, I’m betting he gets something pierced). For now, I hope you enjoy geeking out over their menus and websites as much as I have. They are all incredibly kind and talented, and I’m honored to be associated with them. – JV



Restaurant: Mission Chinese Food

Whereabouts: New York City, NY

“Famous” Dish: Ma po tofu with pork shoulder and Sichuan pepper

Follow Him: @dannybowien



Restaurant: Underbelly

Whereabouts: Houston, TX

“Famous” Dish: Korean braised goat and dumplings

Follow Him: @cshepherd13



Restaurant: Empellón CocinaEmpellón Taqueria

Whereabouts: New York City, NY

“Famous” Dish: Tacos of beer-braised tongue with árbol chile salsa

Follow Him: @alexstupak



Restaurant: Sea Change

Whereabouts: Minneapolis, MN

“Famous” Dish: Scallops with chicken “crumble” (fried chicken skin) and carrots three ways: blackened, as a confit and as a foam

Follow Her: @jamiemone



Restaurant: West Bridge

Whereabouts: Cambridge, MA

“Famous” Dish: “Egg in a jar”: slow-cooked duck eggs, hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, potato puree and crispy duck skin

Follow Him: @GaudetMatthew



Restaurant: Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen

Whereabouts: Memphis, TN

“Famous” Dish: Corn tortellini with duck confit and chanterelle mushrooms

Follow Them: @amitaliancooks



Restaurant: ink

Whereabouts: Los Angeles, CA

“Famous” Dish: Baby turnips and radishes in a coffee-cardamom “soil”

Follow Him: @MVoltaggio



Restaurant: Aubergine

Whereabouts: Carmel, CA

“Famous” Dish: Abalone and oyster with pickled sea beans and wild sea lettuce on a braised pig’s tail cake

Follow Him: @JustinCogley



Restaurant: Jose Enrique

Whereabouts: San Juan, Puerto Rico

“Famous” Dish: Crispy fried yellowtail snapper with mashed batata (sweet potato) and papaya-avocado salsa

Follow Him: @ChefJoseEnrique

Not to mention, it’s been exactly two months since JV was in New York where he met this amazing group of chefs. With video camera in hand, he was able to capture some candid, behind-the-scenes footage at the photo shoot for the July issue of Food & Wine, in which they will all be featured. Take a look, and be sure to pick up the July issue when it hits newsstands!