It just might be that Incanto's Chris Cosentino and A16's Nate Appleman are going to have a celebrity death match soon—wherein they pelt each other with pig hearts or wrap each other in caul fat. There’s not enough room in this town for two whole-hog men.
I like pork as much as the next person, but enough pig posturing. Just as I was thinking that if I ever see another picture in a magazine or on a blog or in the newspaper, of a (male) chef butchering another whole pig, or roasting one on a spit, or holding a pig head over his face (men just can't resist doing this), I was going to have to butcher myself—Men’s Journal came out last week with their feature, “The Beauty of the Beast,” as if they’d just run across this whole “nose to tail eating” idea that Fergus Henderson coined ten years back (if you don’t want to give Oliveto’s long ongoing Whole Hog dinners credit for it). A number of male chefs (with Lidia Bastianich as the token female/Italian nonna), were given the different parts of the pig but Nate got to do the actual butchering—the real honor. Author Matt Goulding says in the piece, “There's a porcine revolution under way across the United States. From specialty pig farmers to menus dedicated entirely to swine dining, the hog has never been so hot in this country.” So hot it’s getting cold.
It’s been going on for a while, from coast to coast. Now chefs raise their own pigs to slaughter. In Boston, “chef Will Gilson is cooking at the James Beard House in August and raising the pigs to be served at dinner himself.” [MenuPages Boston] In SF, Bloodhound hosted a pig roast recently, as SFoodie reported it became a spectacle: Butchery and Bacon-Spiked Bourbon: Bloodhound Pig Roast Turns Hacking into a Spectator Sport.
Then I ran across this. Apparently some women are offering their own butcher classes. Because a pig is not like soup: "Butchery is something you can't teach yourself, the way you can teach yourself to make stock," said Tamar Adler, a former cook at Chez Panisse and director of the CSA-like meat-share program BAMCSA. Adler is teaming up with Secret Eating Society's Marissa Guggiana to lead two butchery classes at Sonoma Direct (6675 Petersen at Blank, Petaluma), Saturday, June 6, and Sunday, June 28, both starting at 2 p.m. The cost is $275. [SFoodie]
Although they’re not teaching how to butcher a whole pig, she will be demonstrating how to teach the meat who wears the pants in this relationship. A couple days ago, Guggiana twittered: butcher classes at sonoma direct are filling up fast. learn to teach a carcass who is boss from a chez panisse alum! Will the whole pig thing become a rite of passage for female chefs next? Next: Vogue features Jamie Lauren in couture at the butcher's block. In some ways, I can see it. But for the most part, I can't.