Local chefs serve unique dishes

The food and drink menus for the evening were pork-themed

Chefs Hiro Takeda (left) and Jason Harper check the smoker during their The Whole Hog Dinner event on Saturday.

A local event on Saturday took people outside their culinary comfort zone.

Chefs Jason Harper and Hiro Takeda at Joe’s at 293 Wallace Street served a sampling of unique dishes at The Whole Hog Dinner.

“We wanted to create something fun and something for people to do in town,” said Harper. “We mostly wanted to use parts that people weren’t necessarily used to. It really encouraged people to chat and get to know people while everyone was vulnerable trying foods they’re not used to.”

The menu for the evening featured items such as pork rinds, pulled pork sandwich, pancetta rotini with a crispy pig ear salad, and maple bacon cheesecake. There were also pork-themed drink specials such as bacon-infused vodka and candy bacon garnish.

“We didn’t give the menu until the end of the night and announced the menu as it came out, which kind of gave people a little surprise factor,” said Takeda. “We didn’t want them to read the menu and be like ‘I’m not going to like this’ until they had it right in front of them. Most people actually enjoyed everything and I think a lot of them were really surprised.”

The Whole Hog Dinner was the first of many upcoming events that the chefs plan to host as a way to bring the community together to try different foods.

On Dec. 21, the restaurant is partnering with Hope Performing Arts Community Theatre for a Broadway lunch and dinner show. Another ticketed themed dinner is also planned for January. Details on upcoming events can be found on Joe’s Facebook page.

In the meantime, the chefs are promoting a new Fresh Sheet that launched this week. The items are offered in addition to the regular menu and experiment with different food ideas. Takeda said some of the techniques and ingredients can be considered more modern and Vancouver-esque than most people are used to. However, he pointed out that the last Fresh Sheet out-sold the regular menu.

“It’s encouraging,” added Harper. “We’re just touching on things we would really like to do while still holding back.”

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