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Bitch at Us: The Pig’s Chef Michael Bonk

Washington, DC
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If there is one thing a Bitch needs at brunch (besides a mimosa), it is bacon. The Pig, located in Logan Circle, satisfies our bacon craving and more with an entire menu dedicated to pork-centric dishes.

The restaurant from the EatWellDC group sources ingredients for all its restaurants (Commissary, Grillfish, Logan Tavern, The Heights) from a local farm in La Plata, Maryland for the freshest fare.

Chef Michael Bonk showcases his creativity with fun events like a Head to Toe Supper series highlighting less-common pork preparations and Bonk’s Smoked Que, an in-restaurant pop-up featuring delicious barbequed meats and sides. I sat down with Chef Bonk to talk brunch, local eating, and cooking all things pig. Here’s what he had to say.

Where is your favorite place to brunch in town?

Montmartre in Capitol Hill.

What is your favorite dish to cook for brunch?

Egg whites, arugula, fresh tomatoes, and hot sauce.

ThePig_Breakfast

Do you prefer to brunch in or out?

Outdoors.

What brunch item do you have to order if it’s on the menu?

Bloody Mary or anything with bacon!

What is your favorite item on The Pig’s brunch menu?

The Full Monty, which is a full English breakfast: black pudding, rashers (British bacon), potatoes, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, fried bread, and two eggs any style.

ThePig_Biscuits

Do you prefer Bloody Marys or mimosas?

Bloody Marys, all day.

If you had to invite five local celebrities to brunch, who would they be?

The Bidens, Mr. and Mrs. because their family worked with my family. Alex Ovechkin, the hockey player. Kirk Cousins, the football star, and Marion Barry just because.

People say bacon makes everything better. The Pig takes that to the next level. What has been your favorite unusual pork combination on the menu?

Putting pork with seafood. Right now we’re featuring a pork belly dish with scallops and a Porchetta with lobster.

Bonk Headshot (1)

Your menu and Head to Toe dinners feature less commonly used parts of the pig. How have diners reacted? Are they adventurous or apprehensive?

Mix of the two. It’s only 12 people, so the folks who come out are generally more adventurous. However, the look on anyone’s face when they see an eye ball wrapped in sausage is always exciting.

The Pig has so many fun events like the Bonk’s Smoked Que pop-up. What do you have planned next?

Coming up, I hope to really focus on the core of The Pig menu and grow the weekly tasting. We do a different tasting menu every week, so everyday I’m creating something new and different. We have a beer dinner coming up with Devil’s Backbone in December, which we’ll also start preparing for.

Tell me about your culinary background. Have you always been interested in cooking using the whole animal? Where do you find your culinary inspiration?

I come from a Polish household, so cooking from scratch is something I was born doing. I grew up eating everything, so I think that’s why I’m so adventurous. I grew up on a farm and we were raised to use the entire animal. I grew up appreciated the cycle and giving respect to the animal. It not only eliminates waste, but in a restaurant setting can also increase profits. My inspiration comes from my family, fresh seasonal produce and traveling.

You source the Pig ingredients from local EatWell Natural Farm in La Plata. Do you craft your menu around what is available there? Do you think more restaurants will start doing something like this?

Yes absolutely. We use the farm as much as humanly possible in our cooking. Of course we do have to supplement a few things from some other local farms. My philosophy has always been that if you can get good, quality ingredients, you look like a genius.

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