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I wanted to really know where the food I was eating comes from. REALLY comes from. No surprise, I'm finding that the better the food, the easier it is to trace. Here's my account of how I'm doing it, who is growing it, making it and selling it and what that all means in the big picture of the world...

Heather Carlucci | Chef | Advocate | Mom |



The fabulous Simran Sethi asked me and a bunch of other food types to comment about trust in the food system. She'll be speaking about this topic at the James Beard System on Our Plates Conference.

Here is what I wrote:

Trust is blind.

Trust is intimate.

I think we've forgotten this in the food system relationships chefs must forge with the producers, vendors, purveyors and farmers.

We must be highly aware that the customer comes to us with the utmost trust thatthey can put food that we cook, manipulate, into their bodies and all be well.

In a world where toxic Round-Up residue covers so much of our food in mass cultivated produce and most of our wheat,  food effects our health on a daily basis. Sadly, our trust has fallen into the wrong hands.

The trust should lay in the cook who searches out the farmer, the baker, the vendor with the same values. Trust must be earned, cultivated.

The food/health epidemic has shown us that transparency is key to both taking care of ourselves, of the earth.

Pig Mt. Part 2: Mad Food Porn (may want to turn down the lights and put the kids to bed/what we made)

To continue on the total high of the success of Pig Mountain 2012, I'm just going to post the menu and put up more of Randy Harris' photos.  There are a lot of them because they're just that good. If you dig food porn (and I really don't like that term but man, it applies here) you're in for quite an evening...

Jake Klein, Morrell Wine Bar

Balinese whole roasted pig with creamy coconut casava and pineapple achar

Anthony Sasso, Casa Mono

Old San Juan Style Pork

Two salsas: cuba libre reduction and red habanero vinegar

Tostones bravas with smoked tomato vin


Grilled beans with homemade harissa

Lee Anne Wong, Foodnetwork

Mi-so happy pig, wasabi ailoi, crispy onions

Charcoal grilled eggplant and daikon, goma sesame sauce, scallions, chili

Watermelon, cucumber, asian pear salad, yuzu vinaigrette, shiso, masago arare

George McKirdy, Astor Bake Shop

Caribbean roast pork, pigeon peas with green banana dumplings, yuca con mojo,

peach pineapple salsa

Peter Schott, the Inn at Woodloch

Pecan smoked whole hog sausage

BBQ potato salad

Vinegar slaw

Braised Collard and Kale Greens

Pickles and chive biscuits

Ryan Tate, All Good Things

Pork belly Tostadas with pickled gooseberries, roasted radishes and lime creme fraiche

Grilled corn on the cob with sesame chipotle aioli

Black eyed pea salad, lemon-sumac dressing

Grilled puntarelle with pit roasted sweet onions

I don't have the full run down from Paul at the Heron as he is in his busy season and we were on his turf that weekend but he did do an amazing charcuterie plate that included rouilletes and head cheese and all the awesome accompaniments that you could want with it.

And of course since Shawn Gawle of Corton and Matt Ridgeway of Porcsalt totally brought it, they also had their own printed menu:

and here we go with the money shots:

As a final note, I'd like to thank everyone who made Pig Mountain what it was.

The chefs and their crews, Mildred's Lane, the town of Narrowsburg, NY, Sky Dog Farm, the Secular Septet, anyone that helped, lent or said anything that was inspiring, positive or downright funny.  To my partner in crime, Matt Solomon.  Holy crap.

And to the pigs.  You lived a full life and brought a lot of people happiness. You will never be forgotten.

See you in 2013.

Spoiler Alert: Great Photos / Pig Mountain 2012

Just back from Pig Mountain. How did it go? Well my mailbox is full of mushy e-mails from all the guys I spent a testosterone packed weekend with.

What a bunch of softies.

It was amazing.  The event brought out almost 1000 people.  The days leading up to it were filled with great food, great humor and the kind of calm and harmony you can only experience in the Big Chill. Gross, no?

I'm going to be posting the photos here. So much to say but thanks to kismet, we had the very amazing Randy Harris following us with his camera all weekend. The following photos are just from the first day of prep. Randy made us look so much cooler than we are.  And trust me, I was there.  We're just not quite that cool. (unless otherwise noted, all photo in this post were taken by Randy Harris.)

The photos can say so much more than I can but of course, I'll have to throw in my reparte. I'm going to try to start from the beginning.

-- This is Matt Solomon. He is my other half in Pig Mountain. Where I took care of the chefs, he took care of pretty much everything else. All things Sullivan County. He also is the oven master. The best guy to have build you an oven, a pit, a kiln.  He's also a lawyer.  At Pig Mountain, everybody multi-tasks.

This is the same pit after 6 hours of burning wood and letting it cool down to embers.  Matt got there at midnight and we all showed up to relieve him and get the pigs seasoned and in the pits.

I'm not really sure Matt slept all weekend.  Not to say that I did either.....or anybody else for that matter.  Let's get back to business:

Awesome shot of pit.  We had two pits.

We have lots of cool photos of random stuff thanks to Randy. I'm throwing those in to make up for the crap shots I usually accost you with. Yes, I just ended that sentence with a preposition. I am aware.

So, we seasoned our pigs

Pig preseasoned

This is me on the right, Anthony Sasso of Casa Mono on the left and George McKirdy of Astor Bake Shop right behind him. Anthony and I are going nuts on the salt on Lee Anne Wong's pig.  She had a crazy day of traffic trying to get to the farm. There was a lot of team work this weekend.

This is what went into one of the pigs for seasoning.  Ryan Tate of the soon to open All Good Things brought 70 lbs of onions with him to the pit site.  The ride up was all about burning eyes and jokes about the smell of onions.  He also took this gorgeous photo.

We wrapped the seasoned pigs in banana leaves, wet burlap and chicken wire.

More random cool photos:


And a rare photo of Randy, the new official photographer of Pig Mountain.  That's him with the cat with a ton of toes.

And we started putting our pigs into the pits:

Covered them with more wet burlap:

and covered it with dirt and waited until the next day all the while keeping our fingers crossed.

And started with our prep.  Lots of veg.

Shawn Gawle getting his corn on:

My roasted carrot raita.  I wrapped up carrots with salt, oil and black cardamom pods and put them in the burning embers. The carrots were then mixed with yogurt, kosher salt, black salt and dried mint.  Whoa.  This ended up on my tandoori roast pork sandwich with tomato ketchup and onion we roasted inside the pig.

I'm including this photo not just because I'm prepping vegetables but because it needs to be said that Randy may have taken the best photo of me ever.  God bless you Randy Harris.

So, back to reality.  There was fiddling around with propane,

picking of herbs:


(this is Matt Ridgeway and Shawn Gawle.  They pulled up with a trailor hitch that contained a full mobile kitchen.  They had us at "Hola".  After I showed them where they'd be sleeping---a room in an old barn---after only having met us all an hour before in the pitch dark, I heard one say to the other "Dude, best event ever already."   Matt and Shawn, you won our hearts.)

(photo Ryan Tate)

And this is what their pig looked like.  Yes, I know. Too awesome.

(photo Heather Carlucci)

They even made us sticky buns. Love.

This is Luke Deardurff from Print grilling.  He's our rock star.

(photo Ryan Tate)

ooh, just found this photo. This is Matt and Shawn's kitchen set-up.

(photo Ryan Tate)

The fabulous Ms. Lee Anne Wong with Anthony Sasso eyeing his porchetta..

(photo Ryan Tate)

The shots of the actual event and all that went with it coming soon. Pigs out of the pits, Narrowsburg, people eating pig, band playing.  Baby, it was groovy.

Stay tuned for what we each made that day and if we'll do this again.

Here's a parting shot of Jake Klein of Morrell Wine Bar. He did Balinese cuisine. We were humbled.

(photo Ryan Tate)

Pt 2 Pigs, Art & Love equals Mary Clea-​ver, radio waves & those Crazy Cana-di​ans.​

As I was saying, a lot has been going on these days. This weekend I'll be out in the Hamptons for the James Beard Chefs and Champagne event. Could be fun. Could be nuts. Last time we did it, it was 105 degrees at
night. That fell into the nuts column.

Anyway, as I was saying, this is the second part to the other post.  First off, I did the fundraiser for the NYC Greenmarkets, Tastes of the Green market. In the world of farm-to-table, this is the Oscar of events.  Green is gold here. Funny, but we always see the same people at all these farmy events.  I'm usually next to Mary Cleaver (makes me happy) and there's always a bunch of bell jars with booze in it.  A hay bail, a few chefs in overalls.


Here is the one photo I got from that event:

Next up, I was on the Martha Stewart radio show "What's Cooking?".  Martha wasn't there, I don't think I would have been that chill and charming if she was.  She's a lotta.  My friends Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg were hosting for the week and invited me to come and talk about Pig Mountain, indian food and farms. If you don't know much about Karen and Andrew, google them.  Not only are they unbelievably accomplished and reveared in the food and publishing world, they are the nicest most fun people ever. EVER.
Do not challenge me on this. You will not win. They can hold their own in the arena of fun and never break a sweat.

I needed to get a photo like this of them with the mics because I am a total radio junkie.  They had to drag me out of there afterwards. Almost infringed on Terrance Brennan's air time. Not something a sane person would do.

Moving right along, I had a crew of happy, well-adjusted Canadians over to the house upstate.  Warning: they don't seem like they would but they take over.
My house looked like this:

and like this:

What good upstanding people put your microwave under your diningroom table?
This was my sunporch:

and this fancy van full of stuff in the driveway

I should have taken the Ottowa plates as a souvenir.

They were filming the show Deconstructing Dinner and we had a ball. They could put my microwave under my table anyday. It's an episode on honey and  Go figure.

Check out their other work:
They do great work that reminds me a bit of Delicious America.

And lastly, I was honored to be at a friend's house for dinner last week.
She served a great cocktail she created.
It's called 23 Knots because that was the speed of the wind the day she came up with it.  If any of you know Adrienne Anderson, you won't be surprised.
and here you go, she shared it with us: