San Diego chef Brian Redzikowski can now add a new title to his name. On Sunday, he was crowned “Prince of Pork” after winning the regional title in L.A.’s Cochon555 cooking competition.
Redzikowski, the executive chef at Kettner Exchange in Little Italy, beat out four other chefs by serving the best menu created from a whole Berkshire pig from Cook Pigs Ranch.
The prize is a four-day wine-and-culinary trip to Rioja, Spain, and the chance to represent Southern California at Grand Cochon, a national competition between 10 chefs in Chicago on Sept. 30.
The Cochon competition raises money for Piggy Bank, a start-up farm in Missouri that serves as a kickstarter for new family farms and a safety net for those in the wake of a disaster like fire or flood.
Redzikowski competed against Thomas Bille of Otium, Sammy Monsour of Preux & Proper, Hugo Bolanos of Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air and Lord Maynard Llera of Mason. Each of the competing chefs was given a different breed of heritage pig.
Redzikowski’s Asian-inspired six-course menu included a pho dumpling with Vietnamese herbs; gimbap with sesame tuile; pig mac bao made from pork belly; Thai-style sausage with papaya; pork “toro” lettuce wrap; and a budino with caramel and pig skin.
San Diego diners had the opportunity to try out several of these dishes last month at Kettner Exchange during one of Redzikowski’s monthly $125 Chef’s Table dinners. A few of these of these dishes are also featured on the restaurant’s current small plates menu.
Many of Redzikowski’s dishes at Kettner Exchange have an Asian influence, as the result of his culinary travels through Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand. His culinary style combines Asian flavors with classic French technique.
Redzikowski serves as the corporate executive chef for SDCM, which includes Kettner Exchange, Firehouse American Eatery + Lounge, Good Time Poke and Grass Skirt. Before joining SDCM in 2014, he headed the kitchen at now-shuttered Flavor Del Mar.
He attended The Culinary Institute of America on scholarship from Wine Spectator, did an externship at Le Cirque 2000 in New York City and staged at Alain Ducasse and Le Bernardin.
He also cooked at Nobu Matsuhisa in Aspen, Colo., before serving as sous chef at the three-star Michelin restaurant Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in Las Vegas. In 2010, he was chosen as a StarChefs Rising Star nominee.
Redzikowski is no newbie to culinary contests. He has competed before at Cochon555 and was a 2008 contestant in Iron Chef America. He and his team have also prepared dinners at the James Beard House in New York.