“There is a level of I think marketability, irony, and interest in two young, attractive ladies taking down some hogs, you know what I mean? There’s something interesting about that juxtaposition that I’ve always really enjoyed. There aren’t that many female butchers. When people were hunting and men were bringing in rabbits, of course the women were doing that work. But it just has changed and shifted so much. I’ve certainly had men that work in the kitchen here, but we tend to hire other women to work here. That’s another aspect of what we do. It’s nice to give women an opportunity to be in the kitchen at a high level.”
This is from an interview with chef Naomi Pomeroy from Mother Jones. The interview focuses on Pomeroy’s latest restauranting venture, the meat-centric Beast in Portland, OR, where she hacks apart whole animals every week and serves up tasty dishes to Oregonian foodies. “We got two lambs in on Tuesday, and we broke them down. Last night, we boned out the loins and butterflied them.” Sexy, right?
The interview is good, and Pomeroy is clearly a badass (and a James Beard nominee) but upon further investigating, Pomeroy’s story is even juicier. Pomeroy hasn’t always been on top, nor has she always been Naomi Pomeroy. With her then-husband Michael Hebb, the couple changed their name to the Hebberoy (a tactic that, had my parents adopted it, would have left me with the unfortunate moniker “Moist”…). They built a network of restaurants and catering services in Portland that was soon the talk of the town. As it turned out, Michael, who had been managing the publicity and finances, had been less managing and more pretending to manage. When the shit hit the fan, he bolted, leaving Pomeroy to clean up the mess.
Instead of playing queen to a culinary king and half of the Team Hebberoy, Pomeroy has regrouped, revamped, and relaunched with Beast. Now a single mom, Pomeroy’s daughter does her homework at the restaurant every afternoon, while in the background, her mother butchers some hogs. You know, just a regular Wednesday.