<Updated by Willamette Week>
Remember Eric Bechard, once lauded chef of Alberta Street Oyster Bar and Grill? Remember how, after a short stint in Seattle, he wanted a quieter life and moved to McMinville to open his own restaurant? He did exactly that, but something about the laid back small town life must not have rubbed him the right way, because he ended up being tasered or and pepper-sprayed (details seem fuzzy) and thrown into jail after a fight over the origin of a pig (it was from Iowa – gasp!) at Cochon 555 last night.
Yes, you heard that right. This is one passionate chef.
From Kelly Clarke over at Willamette Week,
According to multiple witnesses, Bechard, now the chef/co-owner of the lauded new Thistle restaurant in McMinnville, started a fistfight with Cochon 555 founder Brady Loweoutside Magic Garden, an Old Town strip joint. Earlier in the evening he also headbutted Elk Cove Vineyard’s Craig Hedstrom before being dragged out of the Cochon 555 afterparty at Davis Street Tavern by none other than notorious chef Tom Hurley. Apparently, Bechard, an attendee at the food event, was angry that Lowe had allowed a pig from Iowa (the winning pig, in fact) to be used as part of the Portland Cochon 555 competition.
I haven’t been to Thistle since they first opened, but now I’m thinking a return visit may be in order. This seems to be a chef with passion. You can read the sordid details — now with mug shots! — over at Willamette Week.com
Updated: Willamette Week has more details, including Brady Lowe getting his leg broken in the fracas, and a statement from Bechard.
Bechard says, “Brady and I never spoke. I had not talked to him at the [Cochon 555] event, at Davis Street or while we were at Magic Garden,” he says. “What I’m assuming (and I’m speculating here) was what I had said to people at the event carried to him and he had an issue because he thought I was discrediting his event. It was blown out of proportion on his side. Everybody was drinking and I’m embarrassed about [what happened]…. I apologize to everyone involved…. I own a business here and I’m very Oregon-centric, maybe to a fault. I’m not going to withdraw any of my statements. The fact that an Iowa pig won the event was ironic since we were in a room of Oregon farmers.”
Head over there for all the latest details.