On January 26, I witnessed a performance of Pig: A Restaurant at the L.A. outpost of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. In the play, writer Leila Cohan-Miccio and star Lauren Conlin Adams (who plays every character) lampoon the opening of Pig: A Restaurant, in never-trendy Gowanus, an industrial area on the outskirts of Brooklyn. The chef is Annie Gilbert, a Top Chef quarterfinalist who wants to retire at 50 to Naples (Florida) and says, “Fat is going to take me all the way to the goddamn James Beard Awards.” Cohan-Miccio makes fun of mixology, describing the Brooklyn cocktail as a Manhattan that you would drink in Brooklyn, complete with bacon-infused bourbon and pork cheek bitters. She also touches on the often hilarious world of restaurant PR, with Pig’s rep saying, “Vegetables just slow you down, and pork is the road to salvation.” Cohan-Miccio includes a first-time restaurateur named Vanessa, who’s in over her head and a victim of Annie Gilbert’s bullying. There’s even an urban forager and a send-up of famously randy restaurant critic Gael Greene, who goes by the Ravenous Foodie, shows up to Pig’s opening “incognito” in a giant hat, and drops names of celebrities she ate (and slept) with, including Jack Nicholson and Harvey Keitel. I spoke with Cohan-Miccio, a former Grub Street Boston editor, who shared more insights.
What motivated you to write Pig: A Restaurant?
I spent three and a half years working as the editor of Grub Street Boston, so I had a real window into the ridiculousness of the contemporary food scene. I thought it was such a funny world and one I had never really seen represented in comedy.
How many characters in Pig: A Restaurant are based on real people, other than Gael Greene?
To some extent, every character in Pig is based on someone Lauren and/or I have met!
Which character in Pig: A Restaurant is most like you, and in what ways?
I guess if any of them are, it’s Vanessa, but I don’t super-identify with any of them.
What factors do you look for when enjoying a restaurant?
My dream restaurant is somewhere homey and delicious with food just fancier than what I’d cook at home, prepared in combinations that wouldn’t necessarily occur to me, with great cocktails and chill but attentive service.
Is pork over-exposed?
Yes, but it is also extremely delicious, so I guess it’s cliche for a reason!
In what ways will food and restaurants continue to factor into your writing, and do you anticipate another food-related play?
I think food will always play a little bit into my writing – as for another food-related play, who knows?
February 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Interesting post and great interview!