Today's episode features Brady Lowe, founder of Taste Network and Cochon 555. Taste Network began in 2002, Cochon555 in 2008 and Brady created anchor celebrations at The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Toronto Food & Wine Festival and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The portfolio includes the ground-up creation and cultivation of the festivals: Rioja Wine & Tapas Festival, PeachFest and Mags For Ag; in addition to hosting Kosta Browne’s 20th Anniversary Party that raised over $100,000 for local charities. The mission is simple: Further the conversation of heritage breeds and support family farms on dinner tables worldwide, all to campaign for those championing agricultures with purpose and passion while educating influencers, chefs and buyers on how to sustain small business owners stewarding responsible growing practice.
Brady Lowe is a respected authority of fine wine, artisan foods, premier foods, heritage breed pigs and experiential events. He has producing exceptional food events since 2003. It was then, while working in Atlanta at the dawn of the good food movement, that Lowe was amongst the first to unite boutique wines and hard-to-find cheeses for affluent audiences. One taste pairing in particular sparked an ‘out of body experience’ in a customer that Lowe would never forget. At that moment, he devoted himself to transcending the boundaries of the food world, to creating unique combinations, not just with ingredients but among people. Now a food educator and taste influencer, Lowe is passionate about reaching individuals with a social conscience to support a responsible community of local chefs, butchers, winemakers and farmers that we all depend on.
Lowe grew up in Iowa reading the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series and his mother’s collection of cookbooks; books that would influence the narrative of his culinary future. At University of Iowa, he studied communications and marketing. Upon graduating, he moved to Atlanta and stepped into the world of fine dining. While selling cigars at the height of the burgeoning cigar culture, he discovered there was a unique vernacular to cigars, a flavor vocabulary that he enjoyed learning and sharing. The ideas translated naturally to other disciplines he wanted to study, those of wine, cheese, chocolate and cuisine.
After getting his 90 points of service in hospitality fine-tuned at Atlanta’s premier restaurant group in 2002, his appetite for the larger food movement blossomed and Lowe started hosting larger tasting events for private clients and notable members of the Atlanta food community under Taste Network. Three years later in 2008, he launched Cochon555, a 16-city culinary tour showcasing five chefs, five pigs and five winemakers in a friendly competition to promote heritage breed pig diversity and whole animal utilization. In 2010, Cochon555 teamed up with Food + Wine Magazine as an Official Event of the Food + Wine Classic in Aspen, Grand Cochon became one of the most talked about events of the weekend. What started as 250 million impressions in the media annually has grown to over 1 billion impression in the top media channels worldwide. Now ‘heritage pig is big,’ and Cochon555 is the most talked about culinary competition in North America featuring 100% heritage breed pigs. In 2011, the tour continued to expand with the addition of Heritage Fire, a tribute event to fire cooking and butchery, and later that year was summoned to host the opening festivities for The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas with the debut of All-Star Cochon, the first ever non-competition event featuring fan favorites and best bites. In 2012, Cochon555 expanded again to release Heritage BBQ, an event dedicated to expose commodity BBQ restaurants and celebrate chefs cooking on community based-platforms that support local family farms. Cochon Island was developed to bring awareness to water-locked food ecosystems like Hawaii and Puerto Rico.