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The California Cook: SoCal's new passion for nose-to-tail eating

March 4, 2010 | 10:40 am

It's a different kind of cooking class Sasha Kanno and a half-dozen other students are taking this sunny Saturday morning in Long Beach. Standing around a portable worktable wheeled into a darkened nightclub, they are watching intently as Paul Buchanan, chef of Primal Alchemy catering company, goes to work. In front of him is a whole pig. It's the size of a large dog and, after being cleaned and shaved, almost startlingly naked-looking. When Buchanan reaches for the hacksaw, rather than recoil, the students crowd in closer.

Though the scene may sound more reminiscent of a Hollywood slasher movie than Rachael Ray, there's nothing macabre about it. This is no Halloween gross-out stunt. This class is just the tip of a very porky iceberg.

In part, it's the latest step in the ever-advancing search for connection to where our food comes from.

"I'm all about a direct connection from farm to table and I want to take the next step into meat," says Kanno, the tattooed, 33-year-old director of Long Beach's Wrigley Community Garden.

Full story: In SoCal restaurants, a new passion for the whole pig