2013 New York Rising Star Artisan Aurélien Dufour of Daniel Boulud Restaurants
Daniel Boulud Restaurants
16 East 40th Street
New York, New York 10016
Born in Bordeaux, France, Charcutier Aurélien Dufour’s food obsession was born from constant exposure to classic French cuisine and his father’s commitment to home cooking. And when his family moved to Germany, Dufour began eating sausage at every meal, solidifying his love of charcuterie.
By 16 Dufour began pursuing a professional career. Only three years later he was working under the guidance of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France-distinguished Charcutier Berranger Gérard at Aux Fins Gourmets and later Fischer Frédéric in Houilles, France. Next for Dufour was a move to Paris, where he worked with Charcutier Gilles Verot at Verot Traiteur.
In 2010, Chef Daniel Boulud and Verot called Dufour with the chance to run their collaborative New York City charcuterie program. They gave him three days to decide. It took an hour. Dufour began his tenure in the basement kitchen of Bar Boulud, producing items for its charcuterie-centric menu, along with terrines, pâtés, and sausages for the newly opened Epicerie Boulud and Boulud Sud and the full gamut of Boulud’s New York City restaurants. And now at just 26 years old, Dufour simultaneously manages production of over 20 signature sausages and oversees the charcuterie program from the Boulud commissary, which processes 4,000 to 7,000 pounds of protein a week for eight restaurants.
Interview with Charcutier Aurélien Dufour of Bar Boulud, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Épicerie Boulud – New York, NY
Dan Catinella: What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Aurélien Dufour: I was inspired by my father. When I was young, he cooked all the time at home for the family.
DC: Where have you worked professionally as a chef?
AD: As chef traiteur and charcutier at Aux Fins Gourmets, run by Berranger Gérard,
Meilleur Ouvrier de France. Since September 2009, it was run by Fischer Frédéric in Houilles, France.
DC: Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks?
AD: Yes. I went to Albert 1er School in Bordeaux, France. The teacher I admired very much was Mr. Cid, Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
DC : Do you hire chefs with and without a culinary school background?
AD: If the person has potential and is motivated to learn, then of course!
DC: Who are some of your mentors and what have you learned from them?
AD: Berranger Gérard and Sébastien Carlier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France. I learned everything from them—discipline, organization, respect of ingredients, each items has a purpose.
DC: Which experiences were the most influential? Do you take stagiers in your kitchen?
AD: The most influential experience would be staging at Mont Blanc Traiteur in Bordeaux, France, where I was helping with big events like the Rugby World Cup and various banquets and weddings.
I would like to have stagiers in my kitchen, but because charcuterie is very different from regular cooking, I don’t have any at the moment. I hope to in the future.
DC: What question gives you the most insight to a cook when you’re interviewing them for a position in your kitchen?
AD: Interviews are not enough. I need to work one day with the cook to know if he is good at what he does before we can move forward.
DC: What advice would you offer young chefs just getting started?
AD: Always enjoy what you do!
DC: What ingredient do you feel is underappreciated or under utilized? Why?
AD: I love kimchi, the Korean marinated cabbage. I used it once in making Korean sausage.
DC: Where do you like to go for culinary travel? Why?
AD: I would love to go to Asia because it is very traditional and cultural. Everything is so different.
DC: Which person in history would you most like to cook for? And what would you serve?
AD: My father. He passed away when I was 16 years old, so he never got to see me cook. I would serve him my entire charcuterie selection.
DC: How are you involved in your local and national culinary community?
AD: In terms of nationally, I participated in a number of charcuterie and catering competitions in France. In terms of global, working at The Dinex Group has played a big part of that as I am representing French charcuterie in the USA. Daniel Boulud has a partnership with Gilles Verot, a well-known charcutier in Paris.
DC: If you weren’t a chef, what do you think you’d be doing?
AD: I think I’d be a farmer, because I lived for 14 years in the country-side town of Hamburg, Germany. I would spend all my free time at my friends’ farms.
DC: What does success mean for you? What will it look like for you?AD: Success is the result of hard work, and I one day hope to own my own business.