Former Charlie Trotter's Sous Chef Turns Amish, Leaves High-End Dining To Make Charcuterie In Rural Maine

Matthew Secich, a former sous chef at Charlie Trotter's, the now-shuttered, Michelin-starred restaurant from the eponymous celebrity chef, has left his past life of creating $600 tasting menus for a simpler and more serene existence.

Secich, who, along with his family, recently became Amish, now focuses on the pleasure of creating slow food, selling charcuterie and smoked cheeses made by hand. Secich's shop, Charcuterie, is located in the rural town of Unity, Maine.

The transition was a big one to make from the high-pressure world of fine dining, where Secich once ran a kitchen of 40 people, who jumped when they saw the chef. At one point, Secich told the Press Herald, he held a line cook's hand over a hot fire for making a mistake.

Secich and his family eventually moved to Maine, first joining the Mennonite community and opening the Riverside Meat Market in Dexter, where Secich made his charcuterie with modern tools. When Secich decided that the Mennonite community wasn't the right fit, he turned to the small Amish community in Unity, which welcomed him. In order to adhere to Amish beliefs about the use of modern technology, he closed the meat market and opened Charcuterie, where he uses a manually operated slicer and a gas smoker.  

"At Charlie Trotter's, with the $600 tasting menu, how many people can you share your passion with? Here, by the grace of God, everybody can be a part of it," Secich told the Bangor Daily News. "My children can work with me. My son is 10 years old and runs the cash machine. My daughters sweep the floor. I wouldn't trade where we're at. I'm sure I drank more than I should have. I live a much cleaner life than ever before."