Field Trip #583: How To Confit A Pig’s Head With Robert Belcham

October 26, 2010.

by Andrew Morrison | Refuel’s annual Whole Hog supper is on the immediate horizon (this Wed, Oct 27th), so I  popped in to the upstairs kitchen of sister restaurant Campagnolo yesterday to witness chef/co-owner Robert Belcham do the most vital work in his preparations. The task at hand was the main course for the nose-to-tail dinner. It sees a pig’s head centerpiece, from which many distinct nibblies are sourced. To supply the supper’s three seatings, Belcham needs to ready/confit 15 “heritage breed” Berkshire pig heads from Vancouver Island’s Sloping Hill farm, arguably the best pork supplier in the country.

The video above (please excuse the audio glitches) might prove a little disturbing to vegans, vegetarians and those omnivores who’ve forgotten where their guanciale and mortadella come from, so fair warning: I imagine it will freak out several of our readers, as I assume seeing the eyelashes burned off a dismembered pig’s head with a blowtorch may not be for everyone. If you don’t think it’s for you, save yourself and us the grief by not pressing play. If, however, you and the “circle of life” are big buddies and you love your authentic Spaghetti Carbonara (mmm, pig cheeks), go ahead and be fascinated. Our philosophy here is that it’s always wise to consider where your food comes from and the manner in which it’s prepared. It is in that spirit that we went on this particular field trip, and not in any adolescent desire to shock, so please enjoy…

Here’s the press release announcing the suppers.

Vancouver BC | Just shy of it’s one year anniversary, Refuel Restaurant & Bar announces a Whole Hog Dinner to be held Wednesday October 27. The Whole Hog Dinner was a highly anticipated annual event at Fuel Restaurant and the tradition is carried on at the much more casual and affordable Refuel.

Chef’s Ted Anderson and Robert Belcham will prepare a whole hog feast, designed to please the palate and connect diners to their food source. Guests will sit at communal tables and share in platters of nose to tail cuts of Sloping Hill Farm pork. Unique cuts and favorites such as whole confit pigs head, offal and slow roasted shoulder are to be expected and enjoyed. Dinner is complete with dessert featuring the main ingredient, pork

Whole Hog Dinner Details

Date: Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Time: Three seatings available 6:00pm, 8:30pm, 11:00pm
Price: $49 (tax and gratuity excluded) Beer, wine and cocktail pairings available for an additional cost.
Reserve: Call 604-288-7905. Credit card # required to reserve a seat. 24 hour cancellation policy in effect.

About Refuel

  • Chef de Cuisine: Jane Cornborough
  • In the kitchen | Refuel
  • Refuel
  • Co-owner/Sommelier Tom Doughty
  • Refuel
  • GM Katharine Manson
  • Bone Marrow | Refuel
  • Buttermilk fried chicken | Refuel
  • In the kitchen | Refuel
  • Refuel
  • Refuel
  • Refuel
  • Cure charcuterie | Refuel
  • Co-owner/Executive Chef Robert Belcham

Refuel neighbourhood restaurant and bar was inspired by freshness. Veering away from an exclusive ‘fine dining’ experience into one that is more accessible, the new space welcomes with a playful, warm design by Marc Bricault that evokes a neighbourhood atmosphere where guests can sit back, socialize and be themselves. Guests may watch the kitchen brigade while sipping a handcrafted cocktail at the 12-seat bar, or gather around a table with friends while listening to music compiled by the experts at Kitsilano’s Zulu Records.

Refuel’s food philosophy focuses on affordable, honest, down-to-earth Northwest fare that celebrates seasonal, local ingredients. Open for lunch and dinner daily, with special brunch features on the weekends, the Refuel menu has an incredible selection of snacks, sides, starters, mains and plates to share that utilize quality ingredients and offer excellent value. At the bar, the focus is on thoughtfully prepared, classic cocktails, along with craft beer and approachable wines.

———————————————————————-

3252051211_7ece320f8a1In addition to providing daily editorial, Scout is dedicated to supporting and promoting cool, interesting, and independent British Columbian businesses through the publication of their press releases and event info. To learn how to get your news up on our front page, check out our supporter details page here.

———————————————————————-

  • Bernadette

    Fascinating. The pig’s frozen-in-perpetuity grin (at least until it gets carved for dinner) is a little disconcerting, but I’m a firm believer in the idea that if you cannot stomach thinking about the face of an animal, you should not be putting that animal’s meat in your stomach!

    I was thinking about the whole-animal approach to meat-eating recently, as I was picking little bits of turkey meat off a carcass I’d cooked for stock. The CBC website recently featured a story on “pink chicken goo” — the pulverized mess that turns into “mechanically-separated” products like chicken fingers and McNuggets. The expected reaction is supposed to be “ew, ick!” Jamie Oliver, in his efforts to improve school cafeteria food, uses chicken goo to scare kids away from the nuggets made from it.

    But mechanical separation makes use of meat that would otherwise be wasted: the little bits and pieces left over, trapped around the bones, after boneless, skinless chicken breasts have been sliced off and shrink-wrapped. Even most consumers who buy meat on the bone wouldn’t have been as persistent as I in separating out the last bits of meat (but hey, I’m cheap!). And if the meat doesn’t get used, if it gets thrown away, then a little bit of all the food and energy that has gone into raising that animal gets “wasted” as well. The big food processors may do it for economic reasons, not ecological ones, but either way, chicken goo is all about waste not, want not.

    So why does Robert Belcham’s pig’s head confit get the gourmet seal of approval, while mechanically separated meat is supposed to be scorned by any serious chef or foodie? You could claim it’s about taste, but let’s face it: a good chicken finger can be quite tasty when you’re in the right mood. The conclusion I came to was pretty much the same as the philosophy stated in Andrew Morrison’s comments: “it’s always wise to consider where your food comes from and the manner in which it’s prepared.” Belcham’s feast is about respecting and celebrating the animal that feeds us; chicken goo is about disguising the meat and distancing the final product from its source.

    The diners at Refuel will see their pig’s frozen grin, and will know the difference between a tender cheek and a crispy ear. Meanwhile, somewhere else the same evening, little kids eating at a diner will ask their parents whether chicken really have fingers.

  • Katharine

    DOPE!

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters Abbey, The Abigail’s Party Acorn Alibi Room Araxi Ask For Luigi Bambudda Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Beach House Bearfoot Bistro Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Beta5 Chocolates Biltmore Cabaret Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bistro Wagon Rouge Bitter Tasting Room Bittered Sling Blacktail Florist Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Butter On The Endive Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cannibal Cafe Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chewies Oyster Bar Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Commune Cafe Cuchillo Culinary Capers Catering Curious Oyster Catering Co. District Brasserie Diva At The Met Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Earnest Ice Cream East Of Main Cafe Edible Canada El Matador Espana Exile Bistro Farm 2 Fork Farmer’s Apprentice Fish Counter Forage Grain Greenhorn Espresso Bar Hapa Izakaya Hart House Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Vegetarian Homer Street Cafe & Bar Irish Heather Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Keefer Bar Krokodile Pear L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Lazy Gourmet Les Amis du Fromage Little District Local Philosophy Catering Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina Lukes General Store Lupo Restaurant Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mogiana Coffee Nicli Antica Pizzeria Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro Oyama Sausage Co. Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) Pallet Coffee Roasters Parker, The Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pink Elephant Thai Pizza Fabrika Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Pourhouse Prado Cafe Railtown Cafe Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Rainier Provisions Re-Up BBQ Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Settlement Building Shameful Tiki Room Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Sidecut | Four Seasons Whistler Siena Six Acres Spotted Bear Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tapenade Bistro Tavola Terra Breads The Stable House Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine Bar Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood + bar

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .