Food Artisans: Checking in on Brooklyn Cured
"When I first started out, I thought it would be enough to make something really good," Scott Bridi of Brooklyn Cured shares. "As a cook, I didn't think much about things like packaging, promotion, price lists that are well designed."
Since the last time Bridi's charcuterie was featured in this column, he says Brooklyn Cured has shown a steady increase in business. "We have systems in place," he says, "We're ready to do more."
Some of that "more" is a new relationship with Bark, the locally sourced hot dog restaurant in Park Slope. Brooklyn Cured sausages will have a dedicated section of the menu; chicken chorizo will be one of the selections, but the remainder will be chosen by the attendees at "sausage kick-off parties" at Bark on March 20th and 27th.
There are more and more varied products available. Bridi has added a smoker to his kitchen, allowing him to expand his offerings to include pastrami, bacon, smoked sausages, and seasonally available Mangalitsa hams.
And he is doing more consulting for restaurants interested in adding classic New York-style meats to their menus; he'll travel to Paris to April to help fellow Gramercy Tavern alum Gregory Marchand set up the hot dog and pastrami programs at Marchand's new venture, the street-food-inspired Frenchie to Go.
He's already succeeding at one of the goals he set for himself when he initially launched the business: teaching and mentoring people who are interested in learning charcuterie. One of his current employees, he says, had barely held a knife before coming to work with Bridi, and now is an accomplished cook. "Actually seeing that happening is really awesome," Bridi says.
Brooklyn Cured now employees three people in the kitchen in addition to Bridi, and another two or three to work at markets. Though he acknowledges that managing people requires a unique skill set that not all cooks are lucky enough to possess, he says that careful hiring is the trick. "If you find people who believe in what you're doing and want to take your standards as their own," he says, "then managing is easy."
About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.