This Week in the Mercury


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sunday Night Pig Fight

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 12:10 PM

It seems we've already found a theme for the week: Heritage Pig Breeds and the People Who Love Them. The Willamette Week's Kelly Clark has the scoop on a bizarre altercation that took place last Sunday night after the hoity-toity pig throwdown Cochon 555, leading to the arrest of chef Eric Bechard and Cochon 555 organizer Brady Lowe.

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The premise of Cochon 555 is that five chefs are each given one of five heritage breed pigs which they use to showcase their talents in various pork-heavy dishes. Those dishes are then judged by a panel of food professionals and a winner is chosen. Supposedly chef Bechard (previously of Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill), attending the event as a guest and not a competitor, became angry after learning the pig used to win the competition was shipped in from Iowa. Clark's sources claim that during an afterparty at the Davis Street Tavern, Bechard headbutted a winery sales manager before being kicked out of the restaurant. Witnesses then alleged he then became embroiled in a street tussle with Lowe outside of a downtown strip club early on Monday morning where Portland police subdued the two men and arrested them.

Ostensibly, the whole ruckus stems from bitterness over that Iowa pig, but I'm guessing it has something to do with Cochon 555's third five: the quintet of wineries offering tastes of their wares at the event. I imagine this is more about drunkenness and anger issues than about passion for local pork. Maybe it's time for someone to seek help.

I'd be remiss not to mention that the Iowa pig became, by all reports, delicious vittles at the hands of chef Jason Barwikowski of Olympic Provisions. You should go congratulate him and order something tasty. His passion for pork actually creates something worthwhile: gorgeous charcuterie.

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