The local foodie forces behind the drive to start a South Sound cell of Seattle's Chefs Collaborative chapter report encouraging turnout at Tuesday's meeting: about 50 people, including representatives from a dozen Tacoma-area restaurants and one from Silverale, turned out to disscuss how local chefs and farmers can work together.
There was, however, one casualty: A heritage pig that Summit farmer Cheryl Ouelette (aka Cheryl The Pig Lady) donated for the evening's dinner never made it to the meeting at Primo Grill.
Before the dinner-bound pig could be sent to slaughter, The Pig Lady's little piggy wandered into the wrong pig pen and "got savaged by a pregnant sow," Primo chef/owner/farm-to-table organizer Charlie McManus said.
The Pig Lady sent a replacement piggy, which gave McManus the opportunity to share some farm facts.
"We got a younger replacement," McManus said. "Pigs have two growth stages: bone growth and muscle growth. The replacement was at the peak of its bone-growth phase. It was a lean pig."
Nonetheless, McManus roasted the pig in his apple-wood oven and served it with caper-mint salsa verde, along with a side of Puyallup farmer Terry Carkner's greens braised in apple cider vinegar and butter.
Next up for the group: a meet-and-greet for chefs and farmers, possibly in August.
As for McManus, whose goal for his restaurant is total sustainability by the end of the year, he's sharpening up his butchery knowledge. He plans to buy 250-pound pigs from The Pig Lady and butcher them in his restaurant, making local pork a regular menu feature.
"It's been 15 years since I dealt with large hind quarters," McManus said. "This will be interesting."
Who attended Tuesday night's organizing dinner? Click below.
Thomas Johnson, Woody's on the Water, Tacoma
Eve Hewitt and Gwen Hayes, Capers, Tacoma
Chad and Patricia Kerth, Old Milwaukee Café, Tacoma
Gay Landry, Affairs Bakery and Cafe, University Place
Matt Stickle, Hotel Murano, Tacoma
Dan McIntyre, Il Fiasco, Tacoma
Joel Mertens, Masa and Asado, Tacoma
Scott McLean and Eric Matthies, C.I. Shenanigans, Tacoma
Steve Eason, Tacoma Club, Tacoma
Aaron Valimont, Pacific Grill, Tacoma
Bill Trudnowski, Adriatic Grill, Tacoma
Patty Rody, Organic Comfort Food Café, Puyallup
Monica Downen, Monica's Waterfront Bakery & Cafe, Silverdale