Mar 06, 2013 1:38 PM GMT
The early reviews have been promising. Two years after his operation began, his pig won a heritage pork culinary contest in 2010, Cochon 555 in San Francisco.
“It was great meat,” said Staffan Terje, the chef and owner of Perbacco in San Francisco, who prepared Mr. Blake’s pig for the competition.
“It was rich in flavor and well-marbled,” said Michael Anthony, the executive chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York, who cooked dishes for his restaurant with an Iowa Swabian Hall.
At a glance, Mr. Blake would hardly be considered part of the upscale culinary culture. His 6-foot-2-inch balloonlike frame, and his beard, ponytail and signature overalls with the left strap unslung (he owns a dark pair for funerals), scream more André the Giant than Jean-Georges. He shoots guns and soaks in “hillbilly hot tubs” (dig a hole, lay a tarp, fill with water and dive in).
Then again, Mr. Blake has long taken pride in his unconventionality.
“I can build a motorcycle, I can fly a model airplane, I can throw somebody out of a bar, I can wrestle a pig and I can program a computer,” he said. “I’m a strange duck, that’s for sure.”