A talk with Josh Potocki
By Megan Jo Wilson
Josh Potocki loves good food. If you do too, you may have seen him in the kitchen at One Fifty Ate, the cozy house-turned-bakery-and-restaurant in South Portland that he runs with his business partner and pal, Alison Reid.
Josh is the tall, skinny one with black hair and Inuit Totem sleeve tattoos on his freckled arms. He’ll be wearing a large-brimmed trucker hat and an old T-shirt from Goodwill. He will speak in the slow monotone of a bored stoner, but Josh is probably not stoned and his apron will tell you he hasn’t been bored in a long time.
One Fifty Ate is heading into its fourth year, and it just keeps getting busier. In addition to this, for the past five years, Josh has pulled together some of Portland’s most outstanding young chefs to host an event called The Annual Pig Roast at Caswell’s Farm. The event is a modern day bacchanal — 24 hours of beer, horseshoes, whiskey, volleyball, more beer (a new activity this year, called “stomp,” involved drinking while flipping hammers and pounding nails), bonfires, bluegrass, barn dancing, and, always, sweet, saucy chunks of slow-roasted pig.
The Sunday morning after this year’s bash, Josh and I stumbled to the sunflower garden with our headaches and Bloody Marys for a chat about how it all started.
The Bollard: Who’s idea was all this?
Potocki: One day Caswell [Katherine Caswell, whose family owns the farm] and I were sittin’ in Sunset Lounge in the barn and we were drinkin’. I had just moved here, and I had done pig roasts out in Montana before I moved here, and we were just talking about partying and it was like a fricking light bulb just went bing! — ‘Dude, we should have a pig roast this fall!’ So, we talked to Kryger [Christian Kryger, another member of the One Fifty Ate crew and a former chef at Fore Street] and we were like, ‘Let’s fuckin’ do it yo’.’ So we just printed up some ghetto-ass invitations or flyers or whatever and rented a spit, got a couple of kegs and just fucking invited everybody. It was small.
How many people showed up?
Did it grow by word-of-mouth?
Yeah, I think each year it’s gotten a little bigger [though] this year was a little mellow. This year we had some meetings about organizing and planning food, you know, just over some beers. We wanted to be on top of shit so we wouldn’t have to be working the whole time.
Did you roast a whole pig this year?
No. Every other year we did a whole pig, but it’s kind of wasteful. So this year, we just had a pig head and a bunch of pig butts.
How much pig did you buy?
I think we bought 110 pounds.
Did most of it get eaten?
Yeah…there’s a little bit left this morning.
How many beers did you have this weekend?
I don’t know. A fucking lot. A lot.