This one is it, folks. It’s the biggie. Knife & Pork, our craft butchery festival kicks off tonight with a roundtable discussion of butchers moderated by Harvest Public Media’s Peggy Lowe. There’s a 6 p.m. reception at the Plaza branch (4801 Main Street) of the Kansas City Public Library with piglicious bites and beer from the Tallgrass Brewing Company (one of the presenting sponsors of the festival), followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. It’s free to attend.
And tomorrow, we get down to it. Knife & Pork is from 1 to 6 p.m. in Heim Park (at the intersection of N Chestnut and Rochester Avenue). The festival in the East Bottoms will feature demonstrations from craft butchers on two stages and plenty of fantastic eats from Kansas City chefs that know what to do with a piece of pork.
First, a few words about the butchers, and then on to the eats. Rob Levitt started The Butcher & Larder with his wife Allie in 2011 after their Chicago restaurant, Mado, became known for its charcuterie. Chris Eley worked as a chef in Chicago under Rick Tramanto and Gale Gand before returning to his native Indianapolis to open the Smoking Goose in 2011. Chris Bolyard has been the chef du cuisine at Sidney Street Cafe in St. Louis for nearly a decade, but this fall he’s slated to open Bolyard’s Meats & Provisions in Maplewood.
Louis Fantasma is the plant manager at Paradise Locker Meats — a family-owned butcher and slaughterhouse that specializes in heritage pigs — in Trimble, Missouri. Jonny Hunter and Jerry Traczyk have both been heavily involved with Underground Meats in Madison, Wisconsin. Traczyk is now the production manager at Bavaria Sausage (an old world German sausage maker) and Hunter is in charge of culinary operations for the Underground Food Collective (which includes two restaurants, a production facility and a butcher shop).
In addition to the demonstrations, we’ll also be holding butcher’s office hours. Each of our guest butchers will be available for an hour, just like your professor in college, to answer your butchery questions or just chew the fat in a unique office we’ll have set up in Heim Park.
Guarantees are typically just some words on a box, but we can guarantee you’ll eat well at this thing. Rye’s Colby Garrelts, The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange’s Howard Hanna, Port Fonda’s Patrick Ryan, Happy Gillis’ Josh Eans, The American’s Nick Wesemann, Room 39’s Ted Habiger, The Farmhouse’s Michael Foust and Justus Drugstore’s Jonathan Justus are among the chefs that will be cooking at the Saturday event. You’ll also be able to enjoy picnic sides from Kansas City Restaurant Week and US Foods, as well as Local Pig sausages from Hen House.
Knife & Pork is the first place in Kansas City where you’ll be able to get your hands on the October issue of Feast Magazine (a presenting sponsor) — a food publication based in St. Louis that is expanding to include KC coverage. And you can learn more about the Kansas City Food Circle, our non-profit beneficiary dedicated to connecting local growers with local eaters as part of a concerted effort to create a sustainable food system.
There’s a handful of VIP tickets ($80) left. Those get you in an hour early (12 p.m.) and include a t-shirt, three beers from the Tallgrass Brewing Company and ticket to the Roast & Toast. General Admission tickets (you can come on in at 1 p.m.) are $45 in advance (you get those same three Tallgrass brews) and $55 at the door. The Roast & Toast ($15), a separately ticketed whole pig roast and beer toast, is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Your ticket to the Roast & Toast comes with two beers courtesy of the R&T sponsor, the Free State Brewing Company.[Event map and Knife & Pork logo by Feed Me Creative, Roast & Toast logo by Jud Kite]