2019 San Francisco Charcutier John Harley Richter of Verjus

2019 San Francisco Charcutier John Harley Richter of Verjus

Berkeley born John Harley Richter was raised in the Bay Area surrounded by a family that loved to cook. Although he was inspired by his food-infatuated upbringing, upon High School graduation in 2000, Richter joined the Coast Guard. After 9/11, the Coast Guard was incorporated into the new Department of Homeland Security, and Richter found himself traveling the world, dealing with narcotics interdiction, searching for explosives in the Middle East, and preventing attacks on oil rigs.    

When his enlistment was up, Richter returned to his culinary-roots. He brought his basic knife skills (courtesy of Sur La Table) to Gather’s back door, where he started as a prep cook and learned whole animal butchery. Richter then became immersed in the art of charcuterie at Oliveto in Oakland, experimenting with game birds and developing an expertise in sausage and pâté. He went on to work at Thistle Meats in Petaluma, and even started his own business, Harley Richter Meats. In 2017, Richter’s pursuit of master status in meats took him to The French Laundry, where he received regular feedback from Thomas Keller and competed in Championnat du Monde de Pâté-Croûte in New York. 

After the birth of his second son, Richter needed more flexibility in his schedule and took a position as chef de partie at Glen Ellen Star in Napa. He is now the full-time charcutier for Verjus, Michael and Lindsay’s Tusk’s engaging spin on the continental wine bar and shop where his breathtaking pâté croûte and other exceptional charcuterie are on display.