Rewards offered to help recover Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen’s stolen pig cooker

It is the stolen pig cooker heard around North Carolina.

It’s been a week since Raleigh chef Ashley Christensen first went on social media to exhort her friends to help find her stolen pig cooker. Her original Instagram post has been shared close to 7,000 times via Facebook.

“We have gotten a few tips but nothing that’s checked out. As of now, it’s very much still missing,” wrote Kaitlyn Goalen, market director for Christensen’s restaurant group, in an email Wednesday.

So far, the Raleigh Police Department has received no tips about the cooker’s location, said police spokesman Jim Sughrue on Wednesday afternoon.

Christensen’s friends are offering rewards for information that leads to the cooker’s recovery. Raleigh’s Bida Manda is offering 50 bowls of pork belly soup. Raleigh Denim Workshop is offering a pair of jeans. Raleigh’s Slingshot Coffee Company is offering a year of cold brew. And Dashi, a Durham ramen shop, is offering $1,000.

The custom-made, wood-fired pig cooker, valued at about $4,000, was stolen on Jan. 6 outside Christensen’s commissary kitchen at 1519 Brookside Dr., Raleigh. The thief or thieves used tools to destroy the gate around the facility and cut the lock off the pig cooker.

The cooker was a gift to Christensen from Nick Pihakis, who owns Jim ‘n Nicks Bar-B-Que, a chain of barbecue restaurants in eight Southern states. Pihakis gave the pig cooker to Christensen after she won best chef in the Southeast from the James Beard Foundation in 2014. She said she primarily uses it for charity events.

“Ashley does so much specifically with that cooker for the community, that stealing from her means you are stealing from all of us,” said Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, one of Dashi’s owners. “Our goal is to make sure you can’t take her cooker anywhere in North Carolina without someone recognizing it.”

To be on the lookout for it, here are some distinctive details: it has three chimneys, removable red clips on the front hinge, two doors on the bottom that open outward, like a cabinet, and a large lever on one side.

Anyone with information that might assist the investigation of the case is asked to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at 919- 834-HELP (4357) or visit for text and email reporting options. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for anonymous tips that help solve cases.

Tipsters also can contact Christensen or her company via social media. On Twitter, @poolesdiner.

Weigl: 919-829-4848;

Twitter: @andreaweigl