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.