Lou Kohl's real name is Alejandro, and he neither grows his own cocaine nor kills llamas.
Most readers correctly guessed that Wednesday's cover story--a profile of a dogmatic, coked-up, llama-killing, Esperanza Spalding-boning, Michael Pollan-scolding, uber-locavore Cascade foothills chef named Lou Kohl--was satire (i.e., entirely untrue).
Four and a half years ago, with the publication of a hoax about then-Mayor Greg Nickels' secret cultivation of an underground smooth-jazz scene on the West Seattle waterfront (Billy Ocean riding a Shetland pony on the shores of Alki was a particularly notable tell), we did something similar. Plenty of people took each piece to be true; in response to the Nickels' piece, for example, the P-I filed a public-disclosure request in hopes of obtaining the "quiet storm budget" from City Hall. But in the case of Kohl's believers, we feel there's something more than sheer gullibility at play.
Locavorism--in short, the increased emphasis on preparing and eating food produced close to home--is at its core a wonderful development. However hollow it may feel to some, the fact that McDonald's has launched a billboard campaign touting the amount of Washington-made products it uses is a sign that the movement has resonated from shore to shore.
But it's simultaneously grown somewhat insufferable.
For decades, The Herbfarm has quietly produced many of the ingredients it uses in the kitchen in an onsite garden. Quietly--that's the operative word. But with the emergence of Michael Pollan, smugger-than-thou hipster food-fetish clubs, and pig slaughters for show, the elitism and pretentiousness surrounding the movement have grown deafening. Hence, the decision to knock 'em down a peg with the creation of Lou Kohl (modeled by Alejandro Garcia, who in real life plays in the band No Rey), the most extreme personification of these trends that we could cobble together in print.
Lou Kohl's lesson to those who've taken locavorism over the cliff: Keep cooking, stop toasting, and figure out a way to genuinely expand the movement to those who are struggling to make ends meet. Locally raised food is good enough on its own without the stench of arrogance. And the Mt. Si Tavern rules. Really.