Pigstock Mangalista

Rebecca Mackenzie is excited about Pigstock. Mackenzie (who was known as Rebecca LeHeup until August of this year) heads up the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance and it’s restaurant focused local food program Feast ON (see GFR’s interview with Mackenzie on Feast ON here). Pigstock, presented in partnership with Toronto’s Evergreen Brick Works,

Pigstock is a day-long educational event for chefs and food service professionals, culminating in a big dinner, open to everyone. I reached Mackenzie on the phone recently to find out more.

Good Food Revolution: What is Pigstock?

Rebecca Mackenzie: It’s very exciting. Pig stock is an extension of a conversation that started with [Le Select Bistro chef] Albert Ponzo, [Terroir Symposium chair] Arlene Stein and I quite some time ago. Albert had found by these organic and biodynamic farmers of Mangalista pigs from Europe that had come over to North America for Pigstock Travers City. That’s a Michigan event that limited to a small number of industry folks that goes for several days. It’s a really comprehensive, whole animal butchery program, with a few consumer events interspersed throughout. Albert really wanted to build on that type of programming and education for the industry in Ontario, and leverage Christof and Isabel Wiesner, the pig farmers from Austria, if they were going to Michigan – get them to come here. So, in partnership with Evergreen Brick Works and Marina Queirolo and her team there, we’ve put together an immersive program that hits all the touch points of the Feast ON program.

Photo of Rebecca Mackenzie in Tokyo courtesy of Ontario Culinary Alliance.

Photo of Rebecca Mackenzie in Tokyo courtesy of Ontario Culinary Alliance.

GFR: How do you mean?

RM: Feast ON is more than just a brand to connect consumers to an authentic taste of Ontario and a taste of place experience. It’s also a program that gives the food service industry the opportunity to be educated on how they can use more Ontario grown and raised products in their establishments, whether that’s food trucks, fine dining or at an attraction’s food service offering. This education piece is big in terms of connecting food service providers with all sorts of Ontario growers and producers. And the last piece of Feast ON, tha tI thinjk is really important, is that platform for networking, where we bring like-minded champions around the Ontario food movement and enable them to come together, be inspired by one another and learn from one another. Riff off of each other, if you will.

GFR: But it’s also open to consumer too, right? There’s the professional development, but what if you’re just really into pigs?

RM: Sure. You could be a home cook that super interested in learning about heritage breeds or somebody who is passionate about diversity in our food system. So, there’s a chef focus, but it could certainly go beyond that, but it is a technical day and networking session. The consumer part is really at night for the Grand Charcute.

GFR: And it’s all around the Mangalitsa pig?

RM: Yes, it’s the hairy pig.

GFR: From Hungary, right?

RM: Right, exactly. And what’s really cool is that we have an Ontario grower of Mangalitsa pigs from Prescott-Russell, Sonrisa farms. We’re buying two pigs from them. One will be used for the whole animal butchery deomastration, and the chefs who are attending will actually be buying that pig. And the other will be made into dinner: Le Grand Charcute!

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For more information, including how to buy tickets for the seminars, dinner or both, visit Pigstock’s official webpage here.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.