This morning, Raleigh-based chef Ashley Christensen posted a picture of her prized cooker on Instagram, but for an unfortunate reason.
The cooker was stolen from the gated and locked lot of Aux, her Raleigh restaurant group's commissary kitchen. Christensen detailed the incident to call her followers to action and help her fiend the thief. She writes:
A CALL TO ALL OF MY PALS, PLEASE SHARE: To the miserable pieces of sh*t who did thousands of dollars of damage breaking into our facility to steal one of the most special gifts that has ever been given to me... I dare you drive this cooker down the road, or break it out at a party. It is fully custom, and we’ll be looking for ya. This was a gift from one of my mentors Nick Pihakis in celebration of us winning the James Beard Award. Though it’s one of a kind, we have insurance. To the low lifes who stole the cooker: Stop looking for where the propane tank goes... it’s a hard-wood cooker (I know, what a bummer... you can’t even steal nice things these days ). The really sad thing? We mostly use this cooker to cook for charitable causes. PALS, PLEASE KEEP AN EYE OUT, AND HELP ME TAKE THIS MESSAGE VIRAL.
The cooker, as Christensen mentions, was a gift from Jim 'N Nick's founder Nick Pihakis after she had won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast in 2014, according to Eater. [related]
Christensen uses the cooker as part of a traveling pitmaster team which participates in charitable events, according to Indy Week. She tells Indy Week, “If it was just a thing, we wouldn't ask everybody to be looking out for it. It's a gift that represents something so special to us and also that it limits our ability to do something that we feel like is a real contribution to cooking for different causes that we really enjoy being a part of.”
Christensen asks anyone with information to get in touch via social media or to call one of her restaurants.