Meat & Greet
By Gabe Meline
Brady Lowe is an Atlanta-based meat-party impresario who first invaded St. Helena with an event called Primal, which resembled Lord of the Rings more than it did a nose-to-tail dining experience. Carcasses were crucified to crossed branches, open fires odorously charred the hair from ex-lambs, and decapitated goat heads lay strewn about, tongues hanging out. It was, in a word, grotesque. Of course, many media outlets, including this one, covered it.
One full-blast media buzz on renegade butchers later, Lowe has toned down his event into Cochon 555, a nationwide contest with slightly less bombast. Famously, Duskie Estes and John Stewart from Santa Rosa's Zazu Restaurant & Farm took Cochon 555's top national honors earlier this year, and Brady Lowe's return to St. Helena this weekend can be taken as the couple's victory lap: Cochon Heritage Fire, as it's called, features 25 chefs, 10 butchers and 2,000 pounds of rabbits, chickens, goats and more. Cured meats and handmade sausage demonstrations satisfy the carnivorous spirit, though we do hear rumors of heirloom tomatoes, craft beer and specialty cheeses as well.
Naturally, Estes and Stewart will be there, but keep an eye out for the out-of-place-looking vegetable maestro Jeremy Fox (formerly of Napa's Ubuntu, now with Whole Vegetable), butcher supreme Tia Harrison (Avedano's and Butcher's Guild cofounder) and former Fish Story chef Stephen Barber (Farmstead, Napa), among dozens of others. The applewood gets fired and the rotisseries spinning on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Charles Krug Winery. 2800 Main St., St. Helena. $100. 4pm. 707.967.2200.
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