This story has gotten so bizarre, I wonder if Bechard’s restaurant “Thistle” will survive the scandal.
Some of the classy highlights that Willamette Week came up with today:
What did the Portland Police make of the situation? Glad you asked. Turns out that after our crew in blue pepper-sprayed and Tasered fighting foodies Eric Bechard (chef/co-owner of Thistle restaurant in McMinnville) and Cochon 555 co-founder Brady Lowe outside Magic Garden late, late Sunday night, they managed to pen some excellent prose. What it all boils down to is that most of the witnesses say Bechard started the ruckus. Bechard says Lowe started it. Bechard pushed Lowe’s girlfriend Carolina Uriba before the fight started. Davis Street Tavern co-owner Blake Smith showed up at the scene of the fight after watching Bechard head-butt a guest at the Cochon 555 after-party earlier that night. And another local chef, Travis Ingle, whose “tasty tattoos” (including ink that reads “Love the Knife” and “Born to Poach”) were recently featured in an Oregonian Mix article (link now broken), was also named as a “suspect” in the fight. Not only is the police report an interesting summary of the evening’s events, it contains the single most heartfelt reason for going out anywhere at night, offered up by chef and confirmed head-butter Bechard:
Do you want the classic next line? You can read it over at
Willamette Week.com (sorry, the link isn’t good anymore)
It’s pretty amazing–packed with Oregon vs San Francisco chef supremacy shout outs, strip bar love and even a quote with Bechard calling out one witness, saying he was “a bitch, a culinary student faggot and saying he could not cook.”
It’s enlightening, disturbing, and will cost Bechard his reputation. Too bad – he’s a talented cook. It also sounds like he’s a complete jerk. In my experience, alcohol usually makes people say what they really feel.
If by “This story has gotten so bizarre…” you mean better and better, I would have to agree! And I’m sure, knowing chefs as I do, that alcohol wasn’t involved. Hey Bechard, I’m sure fighting over pig provenance and “our chefs are better than your chefs” (gee, how very 5th grade of you) seemed a reasoned response at the time, but those taser scars might suggest otherwise. Enjoy your next prep job, dude!
i only fault him for that haircut.
That haircut definitely puts the R in redneck !
I need to step my game up and stab somebody to get some press. Dude, who should I start with first ;-)
Jackie M. says
People seem to be missing the most ridiculous aspect of this story. If you read the police report, it’s right there, this Brady’s guy’s girlfriend, Carolina, states that they had not eaten, and they wanted some food, so that’s why they were at the Magic Gardens. You are hosting a high-end food event for well-respected chefs, you go to an after-event party at a relatively well-regarded Tavern/Restaurant, then you head to the MAGIC GARDENS FOR FOOD!!!??? I know these people are from Atlanta, but what does that say?? (No disrespect meant toward A.GA. really.)
I can’t help by think this whole ugly altercation could have been avoided if the hair cut police were doing there job! He obviously was sporting that hair cut before the incident !!
Mike Thelin says
The absolute most ridiculous aspect of this story is that all of the good–the competition, the great wine, the excellent food, the cameraderie, and the fact that our own Jason Barwikowski will be representing the city at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen have been reduced to mere footnotes thanks to the actions of a few people who behaved like bully children. This whole situation is bad. Ron Artest bad. Tonya Harding bad. Mike Tyson bad. Just bad. It makes Portland look like a backwater.
Whoa there, Artest is having a GREAT season. As much as it pains me to admit it.
Mike Thelin says
I can’t imagine anybody saying Portland looks like a backwater or equates this with Mike Tyson or Tonya Harding because to chefs got into a fight over a pig in Mcminnville. The whole thing is comical and amusing I think the hangover and waking up in jail is punishment enough. Like the old saying there’s no such.thing as bad press might be true here I never heard of Bacherd his restaurant or have given Mcminnville any thought now I’m curious!
I highly endorse chef-on-chef violence.
This is hilarious… http://shops.cafepress.com/Gettinpiggywithit
It’s almost like a bad dream or a dream so strange that you can’t believe it in the morning when you wake up: Being in a strip bar in old town for dinner, head-butting the Elk Cove guy, getting into a fight. Tom Hurley gets involved. You ask “Hey Tom, I thought you were in Seattle or SFO? Open any restaurants lately?” The only thing missing are the pink mice, the lack of pants or the car that comes up to you with a clown inside.
You can’t WRITE stuff this good…
Flask Mama says
C’mon folks. The whole thing is hilarious. Lighten up a bit. Booze causes everyone to make poor choices. The food at Thistle is still great. Are we really going to pillorize someone for one poor, albeit public, action? I know that maybe I am opening a can of worms (I mean bacon) here, but aren’t there more important things to freak out about? Oil spills? Republicans winning office? Well, I *have* been drinking so maybe I will regret this post too…
I commented on MSG’s board that this incident is chock full of win. As grapedog says, you could not write a script better than this. Hopefully it knocks a few “local-er than thou” people off their high horses.
Flask Mama: Booze doesn’t “cause everyone to make poor choices”, only those with a serious untreated drinking problem and a propensity to violence who make the choice to get drunk. Stop minimizing this. He broke a leg and head-butted someone. Our jails and prisons are full of people who got loaded and committed a violent crime. What’s your solution? Set them all free? Blame booze? Put alchohol on trial?
I don’t think anyone is “freaking out” over this. Just because there are bigger issues in the world, is no excuse or reason to advocate ignoring this. I think we can fight many kinds of battles at the same time. And yes, addressing personal responsibility IS important.
If your drunken rampage ends up being linked on Fark, it’s a good indicator that you might think about joining a program. Just sayin’.
I think that should be pillify.
amy stocky says
Eric Bechard is my new idol!
It seems that everyone wants to blame Eric Bechard for this whole incident. Maybe there is more to this story. Y’all want sensationalism. I’d look to Craig Hedstrom, he’s the real hooligan. Maybe this whole incident wasn’t really about pork. It appears that all involved were drunk, even the Police, the WW and the O. I don’t think that anyone has looked at this story critically. It started because 2 guys who don’t like each other were forced to interact. Look hard at Craig Hedstrom and Mr. Lowe and you will see how this really started. Move on!
The police were drunk too?
A client in N.J. to whom I sent this marvelous bit of local color has suggested, with a tip to the current political season, the following bumper sticker. I can’t believe we aren’t already seeing it bandied about along with the T-shirts!:
DON’T BLAME ME: I VOTED FOR THE OREGON PIG!!
pillory is the word some are looking for..
I realize this thread is probably old now, but a month ago we enjoyed a pretty good dinner at Thistle, sitting at the counter (the only ones there) and chatting with chef Bechard as he cooked. Well, he “chatted,” we listened.
Wow, we thought when we left, that guy is world class when it comes to blow hard. Everything that wasn’t done his way was absolute crap, including a number of well respected farms and butchers used in by many of Portland’s best restaurants. I have never, in my 50+ years, seen anyone more full of himself. Somehow, the fight didn’t come as a surprise.