The 'Iconic' Pitmaster, Ed Mitchell - Master of Pit-Cooked Whole-Hog BBQ

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Michael Pollan kicks off the opening of Ed Mitchell’s Que.

Ed Mitchell’s version and vision for his restaurant from ‘farm to table draws a world renowned foodie to Durham, NC to highlight his commitment to local farmers and Eastern Carolina cuisine. Opening May 27, 2014. Indoor/outdoor and onside seating in the Bull Durham Stadium.

At a pre-opening on May 16, 2014, I arrived to a special lunch with Michael Pollan who effectively   launched the first meal at Ed Mitchell’s Que new restaurant on the American Tobacco Campus, the building just next to Bull Durham Baseball Stadium. ” Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, activist, and professor of journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A 2006 New York Times book review describes him as a "liberal foodie intellectual.” (wikipedia) You could see the bar had not been set up with stacks of supplies in boxes scattered throughout. Nevertheless, Michael was sitting there enjoying The Pitmaster Ed Mitchell’s company as they sampled cheeses, sausages, chopped barbecue, and a pulled pork presentation. The Que’s manager, Randy, has a bar specialty background, selected a red champagne designed to go with pork. John, the Que’s chef, key to Ed’s restaurant concept brings a variety of eastern North Carolina traditional dishes to mix fine dining with barbeque.  As he prepared and delivered the entrees John offered stories about his family history when growing up in Snow Hill very near Wilson, Ed’s hometown. Wait until you taste his tomato pie!

Later that evening at NC State during Michael Pollan’s talk, he announced the opening of Ed’s new restaurant making sure he didn’t say too much about how good it was so as to not frustrate his audience. The foodie filled audience showed their appreciation by clapping, later asking for autographs, taking pictures, while telling him they would visit.

It had been a long journey back to the restaurant side of business for Ed Mitchell, having presented at the 20th International Food and Wine Festival in Melbourne, Australia, continuing to champion his annual participation in the infamous NYC Big Apple Barbecue Block Park at Madison Square Park in lower Manhattan, judging national and local barbecue contests and catering (wedding) events. He and his son Ryan partnered to bring Ed Mitchell’s Que online. On Tuesday May 27th they will be open for lunch from 11am to 3pm. During my visit this past Friday the bar was being stocked with an impressive array of selections that may surprise and delight the very discreet connoisseur. Randy created a blue devil martini, ladies.

This past Friday May 23, 2014. at the Que for lunch, a friend, who joined me, praised the cheese filled smoked meatloaf dish with succotash of corn, mash potatoes and lima beans. Ed seemed pleased as he his eyes glittered with energy when speaking of new menu choices as the restaurant evolves. His is a vision in the making and that is satisfying because it captures the heart and soul of a creative and talented iconic pitmaster. As in Michael Pollan’s reading from his book ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ “Barbeque will bring people together, it always did and it always will.” Welcome to Ed Mitchell’s Que Restaurant, a Durham destination for sure! 

Ed Mitchell in 2012 at the 20th International Wine and Food Festival in Melbourne Australia.

20th Annual Food and Wine Festival Melbourne, Australia: March 2-20, 2012  www.melbournefoodand   

Ryan Mitchell Ed's son and partner in the new restaurant shown here in Melbourne, Australia. While there Ed led a demonstration class and won a cook off with local chef talent. He met chefs from all over the world! Now back to NYC June 7-8 2014!

Update: Ed Mitchell's Que at the American Tobacco location has been closed. The Pitmaster Ed Mitchell, will continue to pursue his vision for whole hog restaurant fine dining concept at a more flexible facility. He will continue to provide his brand in the form of catering, festivals, and judging events.  
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