Pork with a Side of New Chef Ventures

Helen Mitternight

By: Helen Mitternight


On a bright November day that felt more like summer, the Pour House opened its deck to some chefs looking to slide on over to some new cooking work. A hog from Walterboro’s Keegan-Filion Farm provided the porky foundation for the food the chefs showcased.

Andy McLeod of The Lot, the Pour House restaurant, was on hand with pasta he learned to fold from Mike Perez back in the day when both were at Indaco. Delicate pasta that looks like little Catholic bishops’ mitres enfolded the pig’s trotters and other “cast-off” meat in succulent little bites.


Andy McLeod of The Lot folds pasta


  Andy McLeod of the Lot


Embers and Ashes chefs Leila Schardt and Italo Marino provided a slab of crusty bread, topped with pork that had both sweet and savory. They explained that they cater with outdoor cooking and, although they’re known for Italian dishes, they’ll cook anything for anyone, as long as it’s outdoor cooking.



Pulled pork and microgreens from Embers and Ashes


R.J. Moody of Spero, the eclectic restaurant on Meeting Street, said that Spero is getting into catering now with an emphasis on local food that is just as diverse as the dishes in the restaurant itself.


  Left to right: Italo Marino, Embers and Ashes; Leila Schardt, Embers and Ashes; staff from Spero; R.J. Moody from Spero.


“Local and good is our main priority,” he said, adding that they had made pork tamales for the event.

Finally, Blair Machado, late of Indaco, and farmer Patrick McKinley have paired up to launch Farmstead, a company that will offer butchery/cookery classes. As Machado plated pulled pork with a crunchy salad and microgreens, McKinley talked about the importance of learning how to prepare food that doesn’t come from a Styrofoam tray in the grocery store.




Farmstead owners chef Blair Machado and farmer Patrick McGinley


Farmstead farmer and owner Patrick McKinley


Farmstead’s first class will be at the Lot on November 13 and will feature cutting apart geese and then preparing a meal with the dis-assembled fowl. They plan to offer weekly classes and will be teaching about rabbits, quail, stewing chickens, and perhaps goat.


  Pulled pork by Farmstead


“People don’t buy whole animals anymore,” McKinley said. “Those skills are lost and we want to bring them back.”

All Photos by: Ferris Kaplan