Chefs Go Whole Hog for Charcuterie

Staff Writer
Chefs make charcuterie on their own

Jacob Sessoms’ customers were not interested in his $12 charcuterie plate when he sourced it from the best cold cuts and pâtés he could find.

But now that he makes everything in-house, it’s a best seller.

“It’s a really good way to make money if you do it right,” said Sessoms, co-owner of Table and Tod’s Tasties, two restaurants in Asheville, N.C.

The combined food and labor cost of his charcuterie board is $4 to $5, he said.

With an increasing number of chefs taking a stab at whole hog butchery, and with local ingredient sourcing continuing to gain in popularity, many restaurant kitchens are making their own sausages, hams and salamis.

For Sessoms, it started a couple of years ago with hot dogs. One of his line cooks, Jeremy Hardcastle, was experimenting with them, and Sessoms ended up selling them at his casual café, Tod’s Tasties.

Now he and his team smoke their own bacon, including a version of the Italian hog-jowl sausage guanciale. They also make salami, French saucisson, ham and more.

Preston Dishman, chef of Viognier in San Mateo, Calif., said his charcuterie has been so popular he’s offering it in the four retail gourmet stores his company owns.

“We try to find what’s resonating with guests, and if we can do it ourselves, we do,” he said. “We’re having fun really trying to emulate and maybe improve on what we see in the marketplace.”