Imported pig prompts foodie fistfight


The trouble started at Cochon 555, a multi-city cooking showdown in which local chefs prepare a whole heritage breed pig. The tour came to Portland in May, where the winning chef used an Iowa-raised Red Wattle pig—a fact which did not sit well with restaurant owner Eric Bechard, who thought out-of-state pigs should have been excluded from an event that promoting sustainable and local food.

Headbutting and fist-flying ensued. Like you do.

Before things got ugly that night, the pigs' pasts were a concern for several people attending the event. "Misrepresentation!" they chanted in the back of the room at the Governor Hotel. Mr. Bechard was the most passionate among them.

"I get there and I get the flier and I'm immediately sickened because I'm seeing 'local,' 'sustainable,' 'local farms,' 'local chefs,' 'local wine,' " Mr. Bechard recalled, "and then two of the pigs are from Kansas and Iowa? I'm looking at my friend and he said, 'Eric, just let it go.' "

Many hours and drinks and insults later, witnesses told police Mr. Bechard was the aggressor when he encountered Brady Lowe, the event's Atlanta-based organizer, outside a bar. Words were hurled and fists flew. The police came, firing Tasers and pepper spray.

New York Times puts the fight in context of Portland's local food/business movement.

Willamette Week Online has the he said/he said details.

Image courtesy flickr user be_khe, via cc