Who the Fark are you?
By day, I am a Senior Research Manager at a financial research firm providing views of the Fixed Income capital markets to the world’s largest investment banks. I manage the research operations for three product groups and my teams are located in Hong Kong, Budapest, and New York City.
When my secret identity is shed, I am an avid practitioner of Eastern North Carolina BBQ. I focus on Whole Hog BBQ, preserving the techniques as taught to me by the legendary Pitmaster Ed Mitchell, crowned by writer Josh Ozersky as the “Grand Old Man of Carolina whole-hog barbecue”. Being near the Nassau border I cook primarily with oak and will toss in hickory, maple, locust woods as I get them.
Why won’t you give your name?
Check out the url and my links above.
What credentials do you have other than cooking for your cat?
In the late 90s I was cooking and doing internships at some of New York’s finest restaurants including Chanterelle, Bouley, La Caravelle, Le Bernardin, Destinee, and Judson Grill. I was also accepted for an apprentice position at the 3-Michelin starred L’Espérance à Vezelay in the Burgundy region of France – which the French government didn’t see fit to grant me a visa. Now keep in mind I’m not saying I was a very good contributor to these establishments. In my youth, I was exceptional at being a pain in the chef’s arse, but I did pick up some line cook chops and I make a mean red wine sauce.
I am also a trained artisanal baker and was assistant manager overseeing operations for a team of eight bakers in Arizona. I was also a chocolate apprentice for a grand total of eight days before I realized how dreadfully bad I was at shaping chocolate.
What’s with the whole hog?
Oddly enough this is a popular question. Now I could tell you about how great it is to be able to mix in all the different flavors of the pig together. But let’s be real – It’s a whole freaking PIG!! That’s like wondering why someone really needs a 400 horsepower Corvette. Awesome speaks for itself.
BBQ in New York City? (insert “get a rope” joke)
The forces of globalization has basically turned barbecue from a regional thing to a national religion/philosophy. Barbecue is not a cooking style nor a series of recipes, it’s a philosophy. The same way that Latin permeates a Catholic church located in Idaho. Or the fact that Olympic martial artists in Germany still use Japanese for scoring their matches. Barbecue flavors have become more a point of departure. New York City actually have very skilled practitioners of Central Texas and Kansas City barbecue.
My style happens to be that which stems from the tobacco fields of Eastern North Carolina. In Eastern North Carolina, barbecue is whole hog. Cooked over wood embers and charcoal and served with a vinegar pepper sauce. My attraction to the style has much to do with it’s own historical philosophy. Whole Hog BBQ unlike other regional styles have absolutely no utility. Texas is famous for its brisket. The purpose of slow smoking a brisket was to take a piece of beef which was basically inedible and making it a marketable product. Taking lead and making gold. Whole Hog was the domain of slaves. Men and women who lived a life completely absent of freedom and leisure. The whole hog was a gift at the end of the harvest season. A momentary salve in the painful ulcer they called life. The principle of whole hog is clear and simple – a celebration with those who truly matter and a rest from labor.