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.
Do you have a favorite kind of charcuterie to work with?
One of my signatures is pâté en croûte. I love pâté en croûte. I did the Championnat du Monde de Pâté-Croûte in 2015 and I finished third place.
It was just after Thanksgiving. Because I was representing the United States I did a turducken with morels, black truffles, and lots of foie gras. It was like an American pâté en croûte. Outside I did a skyline of New York. In the middle of the turducken was a consommé of chanterelles and outside it there were four points of crème brûlée de foie gras.
Do you have a favorite breed of pigs to work with?
I like the Berkshire a lot and Duroc. I worked with Lucki 7 Farms in Rodman, N.Y., when I was with Daniel and continue to use them at Dufour Gourmet.
Do you think we’ll get to a point where we’ll see French charcuterie on supermarket shelves?
I hope. I think so, yeah, because people are starting to get very interested in all these kinds of French charcuterie. We just need to be sure to promote it in a good way to explain and to work with local farms. If we do this people will be more and more interested.
When did you start Dufour Gourmet?
I started it at the end of November. We’ve got Paris Gourmet distributing five of our products. We work with a lot of restaurants like David’s Cafe in the East Village and Chef’s Club, also J.P. Morgan Chase, some small yacht clubs. It’s growing up slowly. It’s just the beginning.
Great article Joe. My lessons in Charcuterie from the French Culinary Institute was just the tip of the iceberg to what many chefs conjure up. The artistry is limitless. I love the one pictured in the article. Is this Chef a participant of Nicole E. Day Grey’s upcoming Charcuterie event at Flushing Town Hall? Looking forward.