2015 New York Rising Star Artisan Fred Maurer of Dickson's Farmstand Meats

2015 New York Rising Star Artisan Fred Maurer of Dickson's Farmstand Meats
February 2015

Dickson's Farmstand Meats
75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011



A lot of things draw dreamers to New York City. Wall Street. Broadway. Maybe even a chance to wear Yankee pinstripes. What doesn’t necessarily tend to draw people to New York is the charcuterie. But then, that was before guys like Fred Maurer came to town.

Originally from Ohio, Maurer grew up as a self-described theater kid. He might have pursued it, but right as he was getting ready to graduate, another creative inkling took hold and Maurer chose instead to enroll at the French Culinary Institute in New York City (now the International Culinary Center). And instead of New York, Maurer took his newly trained talents to Paris, to train in charcuterie at Léautey Traiteur, where he also met famed Parisian Charcutier Gilles Vérot, Léautey’s brother-in-law. Meat had become his métier, and Maurer was proving himself a talent.

He was also self-driven, reading what books he could on the subject and learning as hands-on as possible. Returning to New York for a stint at Bar Boulud, Maurer then decided to take a year and a half sojourn to Texas. He returned to New York to work at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, where he makes artisanal meats and house-made charcuterie to the tune of 1,000s of pounds of painstakingly perfected, local, heritage product per week.

Interview with New York Rising Star Artisan Fred Maurer of Dickson's Farmstand Meats

Sean Kenniff: How did you get your start cooking?
Fred Maurer:
I’m from Ohio. I was a theatre kid growing up. Ended up going to culinary school. I’ve been cooking for six years now.

SK: How long have you worked at Dickson’s?
I’ve been at Dickson’s a year and half, revamping and improving the charcuterie, making it more consistent.

SK: What’s the philosophy behind the charcuterie program here?
To reach the wide American palate while also putting my European influences in there, especially the French. That’s my focus here. I’m still learning; there’s always something new to discover. I’d like to go back to France. It’s the root and source of inspiration for everything I do and love. 

SK: You trained in Paris after culinary school?
After I graduated from [the French Culinary Institute], I worked for Harold Dieterle and then Brian Bistrong. Working for them pointed my career in the direction it’s gone, especially regarding with whom I’ve worked with since then. In Paris, I trained with Christophe Léautey at Léautey Charcuterie. I’m grateful Christophe took me in despite the language difference. I learned a lot from trailing him. That’s actually how I met Gilles Verot. Leautey is his brother-in-law.

SK: What’s your favorite meat product that you’ve made?
At work, our Schweinebach, a slow-roasted pork belly stuffed with bologna. At home, I’ve been known to make a pretty decent fried chicken.

SK: And your favorite tool in the Dickson’s kitchen?
Our 30-pound sausage stuffer. I crank out about 300 pounds of sausage a week by hand.

SK: Is there a particular cooking resource you like?
I could watch “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” over and over. It’s old-school French cookery, and frankly, their banter is hilarious. I also love watching “America’s Test Kitchen” because it doesn’t pander to the viewer, and it is too gosh darn funny. I also like looking backwards at food my mom or grandma would have made. I love The Joy of Cooking as a starting place when making a new dish.

SK: What’s the biggest daily challenge facing you at Dickson’s?
FM: The biggest challenges are space issues. We get in 8,000 pounds of meat a week. 10 pigs, 4 lambs, etc. We’d like to start supplying more restaurants, but we need more production space.

SK: What’s your kitchen pet peeve?
I hate whistling in the kitchen.