“The Bewildered Pig” was born in 2009 in my and Daniel’s 1978 Volkswagen Westphalia, while on a pivotal, life-changing road trip to Oregon. I had spent the previous 7 years as the Executive Chef on a bucolic, fully sustainable Napa Valley ranch and winery owned by an iconic restaurant designer who was fanatically dedicated to upholding bygone culinary traditions and all things aesthetically pleasing. He had recently sold the business to a wealthy, corporate, fortune 500 mogul. It was clear that the ideals of the food program we had toiled to create, (and that had garnered the largest spread ever in the San Francisco Chronicle), were rapidly transitioning from a nostalgic culinary nirvana into a profit-only driven “hospitality” program with little regard to the sourcing or quality of the food. A change was definitely in order.
Daniel and I drank aged wines from our cellar and foraged wild things like nettles, fennel, and mint to supplement our overflowing cooler, filled with delicious homemade things like wild duck confit, rabbit rillettes, braised lamb, eggs, preserves and other delicacies sourced from our own modest but productive farm. We had both been raised in the “wild” for a portion of our childhoods: me in Alaska and Daniel in the White Mountains of Arizona.
Driving around the stunning Oregon and Washington countryside, we peered through the façade of tree-lined highways that periodically revealed shockingly barren, clear cut landscapes.
We pondered our existence, questioned humanity, and wondered how we could contribute to the world in our way, with our combined passions and talents in food, hospitality and design, unbound by corporate constraints or others. How would we convey our strong convictions regarding food and sustainability in both a pleasant yet poignant manner, and “sum up” all our parts?
And so, on the “back roads,” The Bewildered Pig namesake and restaurant concept was born! For the 6 years that followed we searched from Rutherford to Hopland, to the quaint town of Mendocino, and everywhere in between, seeking to find the right home for our unpretentious restaurant that is dedicated to honoring and preserving our culinary traditions with our own uniquely rustic, refined sensibilities.
The road has been long, and often more challenging than we could have ever imagined, but we finally found the perfect spot in an old loggers’ bar and general store “At the TownsEnd” of a tiny village named Philo which is situated in the Anderson Valley in Northern California’s Mendocino County.
Nestled in a curiously diverse community of artists, rebels, sustainable farmers, wineries, metropolitan expats, and people dedicated to “green” living, we invite you to join us at our comfortably well-appointed tables to revel with good company while we humbly cook for you with delicious intention…
Chef Janelle Weaver
A late 17th-century word of unknown origins: stems from: be- ‘thoroughly’ + obsolete wilder- ‘lead or go astray’
1. To confuse or befuddle completely, especially by being complicated or varied; perplexed
2. To cause to lose one's bearings; disorient
1. An omnivorous, domesticated, hoofed mammal with sparse, bristly hair and a flat snout for rooting in the soil, kept and prized for its meat
2. A greedy or selfish person; a rude or arrogant person
3. To engorge oneself with food
1. A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable
2. A thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else