New Chef Alert: Michael Bonk In at the Pig

The toque talks porky desserts and other menu plans.

The Logan Circle pork palace gets a new chef next Monday. Photographs by Jeff Martin.

We’re at the end of a big week for chef shuffles. First Billy McCormick of the Eat Well DC restaurant group—which includes restaurants such as the Pig and Logan Tavern—moved to helm the kitchen at Virtue Feed & Grain. Then the Pig’s Garret Fleming discussed plans with Eater DC for a new gastropub after leaving his post at the pork-centric restaurant. Cork’s Rob Weland is out as of Wednesday and bound (temporarily) for Italy; Cork Market chef Kristin Hutter will take his place. The latest move came this morning back over with the Eat Well folks, who announced that former Sonoma executive chef Michael Bonk is in at the Pig.

Bonk has been consulting at H Street English spot the Queen Vic since leaving his four-year post at Sonoma in January. He officially starts his new position on Monday, May 6. You’ll start to see his influence in specials on the swine-centric menu soon after; early ideas include dishes he cooked in a taste test for the owners, including Kashmiri-style pork belly curry and sausage-stuffed squid with piquillo peppers. Bonks says eventually the entire menu will change to reflect his cooking style, with the exception of a few crowd favorites such as the porchetta and meatballs. You may find a special emphasis on offal dishes—from approachable chicken skin to more out-there cockscombs—and pork paired with seafood, as in the calamari dish. While the infamous pig’s blood sundae isn’t currently on the menu, you’ll find other porky desserts such as a pork sticky bun in the near future.

Outside the kitchen, the toque plans for more neighborhood outreach and community involvement, having been active in programs like Chefs Move to Schools.

“We owe it to the neighborhood and the city we’re in to give back. That’s part of being a chef,” says Bonk.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.