2015 Boston Rising Star Artisan Joshua Smith of New England Charcuterie

2015 Boston Rising Star Artisan Joshua Smith of New England Charcuterie
March 2015

New England Charcuterie
468 Moody Street
Waltham, MA 02453
www.newenglandcharcuterie.com/blog

Recipe

Photos

There are many culinary riches to be found in North Carolina, but classic French charcuterie isn’t, generally, one of them. But fate had a special hand to deal Joshua Smith, a local kid working at a Dean and Deluca in Charlotte. One day, the butcher didn’t show, and Smith was thrown into the task—under the tutelage of French Master Chef Charles Semail.

Outfitted with a new passion and skill set, Smith went west, working his way up the coastline before settling into four formative years at the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel in Seattle. After cooking (and cycling—Smith’s other passion) his way around northern California, an opportunity arose back in Charlotte, which found Smith working for Nobles Restaurant Group under Chef Dale Ray, and diving deeper into charcuterie.

Smith made another leap back west, setting up food and beverage programs for a resort in Lake Tahoe (and meeting his wife) before settling in Boston in 2005, where he was sous chef at the Four Seasons Hotel and put his charcuterie on the menu. After four years, Smith transitioned to the executive chef position at Michael Schlow’s Tico, earning placement on Esquire’s “Top 20 Best New Restaurant in America.” Rightfully confident, Smith took a chance on his passions, founding New England Charcuterie in 2012 and its storefront Moody’s Deli & Provisions in Waltham the following year. There, Smith partners with the best local farms to create Old World-style meats, bringing a proud French tradition on an unlikely journey from Charlotte to New England. In April 2015, Smith will open Backroom, an addition to Moody’s which will have 50 seats and feature wine, cocktails, a rotisserie, and wood-fired oven, bringing together Smith’s love of wine and food.



Interview with Boston Rising Star Artisan Joshua Smith of New England Charcuterie

Caroline Hatchett: How many pounds of meat are you processing?
Joshua Smith:
Two thousand, with six outlets for distribution so far [as of July 2014]. It took two years to get USDA certification. That’s what it takes to wholesale these products, and why it hasn’t been done before in New England; there are no small manufacturers doing it, just a handful chefs.  

CH: What’s the most important equipment you’ve acquired for your business?
JS:
Our oven is a custom designed Enviropac, out of Oregon. It’s the single greatest piece of equipment we have. It hot smokes, cold smokes, and cooks, all in the same piece of equipment. It records the whole time, you can really geek out on the data.

CH: What's the biggest challenge facing your business?
JS:
The unknown. What’s the next drama. What’s the next catastrophe?

CH: What's your five-year plan?
JS:
For me, the model is going to be opening a wine bar/small plates place next door. It’s the market-restaurant concept. I want to build a commissary. We’ll continue to have large wholesale account for a few items. I want to control quantity; we make such small quantities. There are tons of larger businesses that we do platters for; it’s a big piece of our business that I want to grow. 

CH: How did you get your start in the food business?
JS:
I worked for Dean & DeLuca when I was 19. I was doing production: soups, salads etc. The butcher didn’t show up one day, and the chef asked me to work in the butcher shop. I started cutting meat, and he taught me to take trim and make pâté. I was so blown away, that you could use trim and scrap to make something beautiful.

I hitchhiked across the country, learning. I messed around in France; French Master Chef Charles Semail taught me. He set me up at his house. While he slept, I worked. I was so excited to be there, I didn’t miss a thing. 

CH: Do you grow/raise any of the produce/animals you use in your products?
JS:
The DeWolf brothers are my close friends. They’re landscape architects. As a project, we carved out a small piece of land. We grow on three acres to feed pigs and ourselves. We grow peppers and ferment them for hot sauce. They built a trout pond just because, and we started raising rabbits and pheasants. It’s just for us. We have a fun arrangement; it’s just 45 minutes south of here.