One of things I love most about my work with Queens Dinner Club, is the opportunity to explore cuisine and culture. Next Saturday, November 4, we turn our attention to Germany, well sort of, as we present Octoberfeast, a celebration of the best craft beer, cheese, and charcuterie that Queens has to offer curated by our good friends at Astoria Bier & Cheese. You can score tickets to this exclusive tasting, which features six degustation stations, here.
The evening’s charcuterie will come from Astoria’s very own Old World Romanian butcher, Muncan Food Corp. I’m especially excited about the tasting station that pairs Muncan’s dried lamb, a deboned leg of lamb that’s cured for 3 weeks, cold smoked for 48 hours, and then aged to perfection with Erborinato SanCarlone Caffe,a cave-aged extra special Italian blue with coffee grounds in the rind aged for over three months. To drink with this creamy and sharp with the strong coffee notes? Big Alice’s Date Night, Bro?, a stout made with coffee and doughnuts.
You would think after a weekend spent surrounded by smoked and cured meats at Charcuterie Masters, I’d be tired of ham and pâté. Not so. Which is exactly how I found myself at Violet’s Bake Shoppe ordering a Pâté Supreme bánh mì earlier today. My go to order is the house special, which features crumbled roast pork and Vietnamese charcuterie.
In addition to a homemade pork liver pâté, the Supreme ($6.50) features Vietnamese ham and salami with all the standard fixins. The cold cuts and shmear of peppery pâté combined with the veggies and fresh jalapeños made for a satisfying lunch.
In case you’re wondering the Charcuterie Masters 2017 Grand Champion was Mark Elia of Hudson Valley Sausage Company who took home the crown for his liverwurst. I’ll bet it would be just splendid on a Vietnamese sandwich!
Violet’s Bake Shoppe, 72-36 Austin Street, Forest Hills, 718-263-3839
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.
Duck charcuterie by way of Chengdu and downtown Flushing.
As a keen watcher and eater of all that goes on in downtown Flushing’s Chinatown, I’ve seen a many a hawker stall come and go. This seems especially true of Sichuan outfits. Thankfully there’s one constant in this shifting ma la sea: Cheng Du Tian Fu or Chengdu Heaven, as it’s often so aptly rendered in English. (more…)
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…)
Surf and turf Rockaway style: The wood-fired clam and sausage pie at Whit’s End.
I’m not much of a beach in the wintertime kind of guy. But when I found out that Whit’s End Rockaway was still open in the winter, I knew I’d be taking that long bus ride down Woodhaven Boulevard, not for surf and sun, but for top-notch wood-fired pizza and other goodies served up with a healthy dose of attitude.
Whitney Aycock is a chef who gives a fuck. A fuck about food from dishes like pig tenderloin with baked tomato and mortadella toast to the wood-fired “Fuckin Good Burger,” to the dozen pizzas. In fact as my buddy and I bellied up to the bar he was giving a fuck to somebody who entered his establishment reeking of weed. Once the fellow was properly chastised Aycock turned his attention to my buddy and me. (more…)
The amount of times I’ve wandered into Astoria’s Muncan Food Corp. to ogle all the various cuts of burnished charcuterie without purchasing anything numbers in the hundreds. OK fine, sometimes I grab a bag of jumeri, warm nuggets of crackling made from hog jowls. So I was very pleased to learn that there’s a new sandwich in town that takes many of the old world Romanian butcher’s fine products and places them on a bun. (more…)
The first time I met Ed Cotton, executive chef of Sotto 13, he showed me how to make a turducken, a rather involved process that clearly demonstrated the second-generation chef’s love of all things charcuterie. In addition to being an expert charcuterer, pizza man, and pasta maker Cotton’s an L.I.C. guy and I am happy to announce that he will be cooking at The Catskills Comes to Queens. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy sked to answer 7 Questions Ed!
How did you become a chef? I became a chef because of my father. I found what he did for a living very fascinating. I must have been five or so. It was interesting seeing cooks chop, cut and prepare things. That looked so fun to me.
What’s your favorite thing about being at the helm of Sotto 13? One of my favorite things about being at the helm is that we have such a small kitchen and staff, so it’s very easy to talk to my staff. I can show them stuff and talk to them whenever because there’s nowhere to hide.
So let me get this straight. You’re making rabbit mortadella hot dogs for The Catskills Comes to Queens? How in the world did you come up with that idea? Yes, I’m going to call them morty dogs. I love making all charcuterie, sausages, terrines, and all that stuff. We currently make rabbit mortadella for one of our wood-fired pizzas, so I wanted to take it in another direction. So that’s when I decided to make a rabbit mortadella hot dog. The garnishes won’t be as traditional as a normal dog but it will complement it for sure. (more…)
There are many, many sandwiches to be had in New Orleans as I learned when my fellow Chowzters set themselves the mission of eating every po’ bo they could get their hands on. I skipped that mission and focused my sandwich eating energies on the muffuletta. Leave it to this Italian-American boy to go all the way to New Orleans for a Sicilian sandwich.
Central Grocery, located in the Big Easy’s French Quarter is credited with inventing this Sicilian sandwich combo. It takes its name from the round sesame seed-studded Sicilian loaf. Central’s version consists of Genoa salami, mortadella, ham, mozzarella, and provolone, dressed with an olive salad. My eating buddy Joe “Hungry Dude” Hakim split a half sandwich as we were saving room for yet another Italian-American meal, fried chicken at Fiorella’s. (more…)
The tyranny of the tasting menu—that feeling of being held hostage by a chef’s creativity as course after course after course comes to the table—is a phenomenon with which I have scant experience. The only tasting menu of note I’ve had is Momofuko Ko’s and while not quite tyrannical, it was vast, running to more than a dozen courses, each quite good in its own way. Even so sensory overload sets in by course eight or nine. It’s not that I was full, but rather that I was punch drunk on the experience, much the way I feel after wandering around an art museum for too long. So when Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky of Bear invited me to try to her $85 seasonal tasting menu, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. (more…)