02/12/17 12:49pm
aureliencaul

When he’s in full production Aurelién Dufour goes through 100 pounds of caul fat in a week.

Aurelién Dufour is a true master of his craft—French charcuterie—as my dear friend Chef David Noeth and I found out a year ago when we started drooling over his Facebook page. After a 7-year stint as the head chef charcuterie at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group the 30-year-old charcutier founded his own company Dufour Gourmet. 

Chef Dave and the team at New York Epicurean Events are honored to have Chef Dufour as part of the judges panel for Charcuterie Masters 2017 on Saturday, Feb. 25. Dufour will also be showcasing his products at the festival. For further details and to purchase tickets, please click here.

Tell me where you’re from and how you wound up in New York City?
I’m from the south of France. I was born in Bordeaux, but I grew up for 14 years in northern Germany near Hamburg. When I was 16 I moved back to France and decided to go to cooking school. I spent two years cooking at two different restaurants one a Michelin star and the other a brasserie.

When I was 18 I got an opportunity to move to Paris to work for a famous chef, Gerard Bérranger, who was designated a Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Five years I stayed with him. I was a catering chef and did a lot of competitions. At this time I started to get more involved in charcuterie and all the charcuterie was very interesting.

One day I got a call from Daniel Boulud. He asked me if I wanted to move to New York City to do the charcuterie program for all of his restaurants. I called him back the next day and said yes. I was with Daniel almost 7 years. We started out at Bar Boulud with a very small charcuterie program one butcher, one charcutier, and me. In 2011 we opened a 22,000-square-foot prep kitchen. We were going through 5,000 pounds of pork a week.

As a Queens guy I’m fascinated that you live in Astoria. How long have you been there? Do you have any favorite restaurants or shops?
I’ve been living there for four years. I like Astoria Bier & Cheese on Broadway. They have nice cheese. I also like The Strand for brunch.

Do you like to cook at home?
Sometimes. I like to do a lot of classics. Last night I made onion soup. I like to cook some meat, like a nice ribeye. If it was up to me I would have charcuterie every night, but my wife would kill me.

(more…)

12/22/16 2:36pm

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Seasons Greetings and all that jazz dear reader. As a public service, C+M presents our very first ultra last-minute holiday gift guide where you’re sure to find something perfect for the food lover in your life.

uzbekdimlama1

Uzbek hospitality, League of Kitchens style.

Join The League of Kitchens for a Workshop
There’s a good reason The League of Kitchens sounds like the League of Nations. That’s because it offers a variety of globetrotting cooking workshops—Indian, Lebanese, Japanese, Uzbek to name a few—taught by immigrant home cooks who are eager to share their food, culture, and family recipes with students. A while back I took the Ubzek class and had a blast. League of Kitchens gift certificates may be purchased here. Looking for something to do Christmas Eve? The League still has a few slots open for an immersive vegetarian Indian cooking class.

mwells-steak

Give the Gift of an Avant Garde Steakhouse Experience at M. Wells
My love of Chef Hugue Dufour’s cooking at M. Wells Steakhouse—from an aged porterhouse dinner that comes with escargot bone marrow and pomme aligot to such dishes as a venison T-bone and a lovely steak tartare—is no secret. Why not treat your meat eating loved ones with an M. Wells Steakhouse gift certificate? To purchase one call (718) 786-9060. (more…)

01/26/16 12:22pm

PiggyAngie

Angie Mar’s creations included a pork Wellington. Photo: Galdones Photography for COCHON 555.

It takes a little more than a snowstorm to keep down a good chef and a good event. So while the rest of city especially my home borough of Queens was reeling from Jonas, it was business as usual at Cochon 555 in Brooklyn on Sunday night.

Before I set for the long bus ride to Billyburg, I told a friend about the event. “Be sure to get a picture of the red velvet cake,” he said. “I’ll be it’ll be made with pig’s blood,” I said.

PiggyMedina

Julian Medina of Hecho en Dumbo offered tacos de canasta.

With each chef given a heritage breed pig to work with, there was plenty of exquisite pork: from meatballs and stuffed shells to a salad enriched with ham and chicharrones from Upland’s Justin Smillie. As a card carrying carnivore I’m loathe to say that I enjoyed Smillie’s porcine take on panzanella, but if I could eat a salad gilded with chicharrones every day I would. I also enjoyed the tacos de canasta, or basket tacos from Julian Medina. The little wraps of stewed pork rinds and chile guajillo were lovely. For adventurous eaters like myself, Medina whipped up moronga, a pistachio blood sausage topped with chapulines, crunchy grasshoppers flavored with garlic.

PiggyCake

Angie Mar’s decadent pig’s blood red velvet cake.

“We came with 13 preparations,” Chef Angie Mar of the Beatrice Inn said as she sliced what appeared to be a red velvet wedding cake. The red came from pigs blood. The over-the-top confection also featured candied guanciale, cream cheese and lard frosting, and pork neck caramel. Before I dug into the cake though I sampled Mar’s lovely pig head pozole. And after the cake I sampled something Mar called “My Jewish Childhood.” It consisted of luscious pork fat challah, truffled lardo  with smoked pork honey and liver and onion pate with ruby port jelly.

I didn’t get to try many of Mar’s other preparations—frankly I’m not sure how the judges have the stamina to try eveyrone’s dishes—but based on what I tried I knew I had to vote for her. P.S. if you liked Cochon 555, be sure to check out next month’s Charcuterie Masters. These are meaty times, indeed.

01/20/16 3:31pm
COCHON2

Photo courtesy of COCHON555

These are meaty times in New York City. With Cochon 555 this weekend and next month’s Charcuterie Masters, I’m going to be in hog heaven. As a lover of the smoky arts and heritage breed pigs I’m excited for this year’s Cochon 555. Heck I’m even making the trek to Brooklyn for it. The event pairs five chefs—Justin Smillie of Upland, Angie Mar of The Beatrice Inn, Hillary Sterling of Vic’s, Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo and Mike Poiarkoff of Vinegar Hill—with five heritage breed pigs, including mulefoots, old spots, large blacks, and Berkshire breeds.

The five chefs will prepare a maximum of six dishes from one whole hog and their utilization will help them win votes from a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated judges. As a veteran of the competitive BBQ circuit I can’t wait to see—and eat—what the chefs make, I’m particularly stoked for Angie Mar’s creation. (more…)

01/20/16 10:41am

Just as New York City delis have their Italian combo sandwiches–some as big as your forearm like the Bomb at Sal, Kris, and Charlie’s and some garlicky, like the Uncle Joe at Sorriso’s—New Orleans has its muffuletta. Now the Big Easy favorite has come to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, thanks to John Ratliff, of Ends Meat NYC. Ratliff’s muffuletta is lighter and greener, but no less delicious than any I’ve had in New Orleans.

The sandwich begins with the namesake Sicilian muffuletta roll from Generoso’s, a fourth-generation Italian bakery. Ratliff always uses his housemade mortadella and rotates out the other meat. On the day I visited it was cacciatorini, a black peppercorn salami. (more…)