Portland chef Naomi Pomeroy dishes on her meat-themed restaurant, being a lady butcher, and how to make awesome pig cracklings.
From the article:
NP: We tend to get a lot of people who are so into food that they’ve either traveled here to eat here or eat food in Portland, or people that can afford it. That challenges me sometimes. I know it’s expensive for people. We don’t get a lot of young hipsters in here [laughs]. We don’t have a huge quotient of people under the age of 30.
But that’s not to say we don’t have them, because we do—the kind of people that have saved up their money to eat here. I actually really don’t think it’s expensive—$68 for the six courses, and then it’s $35 more if you get the six wine pairings. I know that it’s difficult for people to justify spending a hundred dollars on a meal, but as Americans we spend a lower percentage of our income than any developed nation on our food, and it’s really important to me to know that I can afford to buy grass-fed beef from a very small producer. It costs a lot of money to do that, and it costs a lot of money to buy wild-harvested foods.
But I’m also sad that not everyone can afford to eat here. Maybe I’m going to start some kind of a program [laughs], like an assistance program. I don’t know, or I’ll do a weekly gift certificate giveaway, or something. I don’t like not being reachable to everybody.
Ms. Pomeroy is not a butcher. Processing a whole animal is not something new – it’s marketing:
“And then the other piece of the meat theme is that there is a level of I think marketability, irony, and interest in two young, attractive ladies taking down some hogs, you know what I mean?”
‘interest in two young, attractive ladies taking down some hogs’
I’m having a mental image of Lynn Rossetto-Kasper and Naomi Pomeroy..
(clawing my eyes out in 3…2..1.)
There is a pit, or a hole of some kind, it’s not entirely clear….
(damn these clawed eyes!)
something involving wild boars… an odd looking fellow named Verger, the host I believe…
oh, and a very kind gentleman, a doctor of some sort,
suggesting a glass of Chianti, perhaps a side of fava beans…
maybe it’s a dinner theater of some sort?
The article seems to not be showing up on the linked page. It looks like an issue with their site, so I’ll check it later.
I say this cautiously since I haven’t seen the actual article, but @whatthef: Have you heard the Stephen Fry podcast on pedantry? If not, stuff your whining about what makes a “butcher” and the lack of a large scale operation focused only on breaking down and distributing meat, and listen to this:
She does a good job, she’s attractive, and there’s definitely something hot to me about a cute chick with oven burns on her arms that can break down an animal and make it something delicious.
Let me guess – Reed graduate?
Ms. Pomeroy may be a chef, she may even be a good chef. My comment didn’t go to that point. In the interview she called herself a butcher which is simply false. It is she herself that correctly (ironically) called it marketing.
In the January 3, 2011 interview Ms. Pomeroy states:
“In the last month or so, I’ve only been getting whole animals, which is a totally brand new thing for me.”
Foop, I discovered that by logging into the MJ site, you
can read the article. Am procrastinating running errands,
so I read all the comments. Oy vey.
this is so portlandia. grass fed beef for trust-fund creatives!
As is the jealous grousing.
I never said i was a butcher. I said there aren’t a lot of female butchers. I also said I just started to get whole animals regularly, which implies I am new to it, and self taught- just like the rest of what I do. As with all articles, there is a desired angle that the interviewer has, which is not always stated to the interviewee, and much is left out or taken out of context to suit the angle of publication- whatever that may be.
I have just never been able to get past the whole “Hebberoy” love-fest the media had back in the day. And while I realize it was largely due to his sensationalism and ridiculous ego I have never been able to bring myself to go to her restaurant because of the nausea they inspired in me back in the day. That she would run the “I’m a butcher” thing sort of smacks of the marketing they did back in the day (“we don’t run restaurants”) and reminds me why I will likely never go to Beast.
I never said I am a butcher. I am most certainly NOT
a butcher. I butcher animals yes. I do this as part of my work, but
like all things kitchen related, I am self taught- and in this case
(as indicated in the article) fairly new to it. A lot of people see
me in the media, and have decided that I must be ego-centric
because of it. I don’t have a PR agent, and I don’t make calls to
request inclusion in magazines or articles. They call me. Some seem
to think that because it is written in the article, I called myself
an attractive female butcher. Has no one here ever been interviewed
for a magazine? When a story is written about you the interviewer
has a predetermined angle. They do not often reveal that angle to
the interviewee. It makes absolutely no difference to me that there
are those people out there, still hanging on to some idea that they
got to “know” me through a public meltdown, or even through a
magazine article. This is how it is. It’s why people sit around
arguing over reality TV show actors “personalities” or reading US
magazine. Because they don’t have enough sense to realize that once
a person is in the spotlight- they no longer have a personality of
their own. Its media created…I hear people driveling over the
dumbest things all the time because they haven’t created something
important enough in their own lives to talk about real issues. I am
thankful for those who have been supportive. And am always relieved
when I hear of people who “feel nauseated” by me (or what they
think of as me)- to steer clear of our restaurant. I guess its more
comfortable for you to eat at places where you “know” the Chef and
Nope, I’m a SCAD graduate, but I do know how to read and write and am currently beginning law school.
As i stated before, just because she does not own a business that conforms to your definition of a butcher shop does not mean that she does not fit into the definition (apparently rather limited in your case) of a butcher. She brings in whole animals, breaks them down, and sells the parts. Perhaps she has only been doing this exclusively for a month, but exactly how long must one do this to make you happy to apply a label to them? Additionally, being a chef is a learning experience. I’m glad you popped out of the womb knowing how to do everything you might need during the course of your life, but not all of us are so fortunate. Learning how to break down multiple animals in multiple ways and use each part of them in a restaurant’s service is something it might take a minute or two to figure out. If I ever come upon the need to do this, I shall consult you first so I don’t have to go through any sort of learning process.
I see no problem with a place of business marketing themselves, particularly in a way that falls in with their ethical stance on food (as long as that ethical stance is reasonably similar to my own and not so similar to, say, Mc Donald’s). Opposing them by saying that they are butchering whole animals in house solely for the purposes of marketing, or trying to read in between the lines and sell us on the notion that this is what Ms. Pomeroy meant is childishly simplistic.
If you’re bound and determined not to like her, or her business, good for you, but be so kind as to admit that to yourself and stop trying to play it off as some sort of mis-statement on her part that is the root of your dislike.
Food Dude says
State your case and move on – you don’t have to be right. Stop the personal attacks, or get booted.
Take a breath FOOP. I’ve never been called pedantic before.
My investment in this is far less than yours. I didn’t claim to be anything, my comment went to the (now disclaimed) claim to be a butcher that made it to the headline of MJ and PFD. This comment didn’t come out of vapor and it’s not interpretation, these are actual quotes attributed to an actual person. When these kinds of statements are made to a journalist, I don’t think you then get to play innocent as the where they come from.
My point is that there are restaurants worldwide (even a few in PDX) that have been breaking down whole animals for years without the hype and without hugging dead baby pigs beautifully styled for the camera.
No nausea, just marketing. Ironic isn’t it?
Another Naomi says
It’s ALWAYS the interviewer’s/publication’s story. The story Naomi gets to “write” is her menu/service/decor/cooking — and how she presents herself to the media.
I’m not sure why the above comment says I wrote it. I did not. Maybe another Naomi..
Yes, everyone has been breaking down whole animals here in PDX for a long time. In fact, the ONLY reason I even know where to begin, is that I have worked with a lot of those people along the way…Back when I employed people who knew a whole lot more than i did about cooking. i learned so much from them. (There is my HUGE ego at work). I would be nothing without those people (thanks Dan, Morgan, JB, Tommy, Jason, Gabe- many others..AND those who taught them). Each one of those people know personally how thankful i am for what they taught me- Because I never forget to tell them directly, and remind them often.
As for Butchery. People are interested in that movement in general, Portland and otherwise. Oh, I’m sorry that ONE online publication chose me to represent me as a figure-head in that one tiny aspect. As for the Pig- Three and a half years ago we had an idea to go out to a friends farm on Sauvies Island to take some pictures with a dead pig. THREE years ago. It was part of how we were looking at letting people know (aside from the meat-centric menu) what beast was all about.
As for the “Naomi”comment above- I get to present myself to the media- yes. But as anyone who has been interviewed knows, we are at their mercy all the way from the intended “angle” to the final outcome of the story.
as for What The Fuck above – That’s pretty much what I have to say. What the Fuck. When did it become nauseating hype to take pictures that evoke the image of what you stand for. Farm direct, meat centric. I’m back off the Blogs.
For two seconds I thought people had grown up, but I guess it’s just because I spent so long not reading these things.
Actually, sadly, what is “so Portlandia” is the “who does she think she is?” small town tone of most of these comments. This city has a lot of growing up to do. Do Portlanders actually think that in New York or Berlin or Copenhagen that chefs/restaurateurs are taken to task for promoting themselves?
So sorry Naomi was interviewed in Mother Jones and you weren’t! Maybe next year!
“So sorry Naomi was interviewed in Mother Jones and you weren’t!”
And so well received too.
People seem to forget that Alot of talent spurred from the Ripe days. Damn straight. Some other male chefs brag about being butchers… (laughing)
As far as the ego thing. Who cares… it’s what drives creativity in the food world every where on this small planet.
Who cares if she’s self promoting? Who cares if she is called a butcher? She runs a damn good restaurant.
Last year I “saved up” and went to Beast. It IS different, it IS quaint, It IS cool watching those women pull it off.
I care where my food comes from, I’m glad she does too. It may be “portlandia” but seriously? Lets congratulate people that are helping support our local economy and seem to enjoy doing it.
Media coverage of chefs is always an interesting part of the restaurant business. You can usually attribute the success on a well connected PR manager/agent. A Portland chef getting national attention is a big deal, considering only chefs from one circle of Portland restaurants get any noticeable amount of national press. Coincidentally, Naomi did us the favor of pointing out their names : “thanks Dan, Morgan, JB, Tommy, Jason, Gabe- many others..AND those who taught them)”. There are several AMAZING restaurants in Portland that go unnoticed and receive little credit for the amazing food they serve. Some of these restaurants, in my opinion, serve a much better meal for the money, than what you’ll receive at Beast. I feel like dinners and food writters settle for the current theme of boring/lazy NW food with a poorly executed European influence. I do miss the entertaining and luxurious aspects of dinning that is found in San Francisco or New York. Portland is obviously not close to either of those cities, but at one time held a few chefs and restaurants that brought a more affordable equivalent of world class cuisine to the puddle-town. Where did they go? The chefs moved and the restaurants closed or burned down. They will be missed.
Wow! What is it with you people? Talent abounds here in Portland. The fact Naomi ‘grew up’ continues to be a force to reckon with should be celebrated. I remember my first meal at Beast. It was a special occasion, worthy of the money well spent. Some things are worth saving for.
This sounds like male ego shit.