Last month, Melissa Khoury walked away from her job as executive chef of Washington Place Bistro to pursue her porky passion of making charcuterie. For years she's been supplying her restaurants, as well as those run by other chefs, with high-quality sausage and cured meats. Now, the self-described "Queen of Pork" will focus on introducing those products to a wider audience.
"Chefs know who I am and what I'm capable of, but now I need to get the retail consumer to get to know me and my products," she explains.
Working out of the Cleveland Culinary Launch & Kitchen, Khoury's Saucisson Artisan Cured Meat and Sausage will offer a wide range of products made primarily with pork, but also beef, lamb and fowl. Customers can always expect to find fresh, bulk sausage, tasso ham, jerky, Smokies, and a variety of rillettes, a signature product.
Khoury works with small local farms like New Creation and Plum Creek to secure all of her animals, which arrive whole.
"I've said it 1,000 times: If I could break down a pig every day, I'd be the happiest chick you ever met," she says.
Largely self taught, Khoury says that she gravitated toward charcuterie a few years back and hasn't waivered since.
"I really took an interest in charcuterie while working in restaurants down south," she explains. "I always found myself more intrigued with that work than anything else I was doing. One of the happiest times I ever had was when I was setting up the charcuterie program at Abattoir in Atlanta."
Saucisson will be a regular at the winter farmers markets Downtown and at Shaker Square, appearing as soon as early December.
"Working in a restaurant kitchen will always be a fun part of life for me, but on a day-to-day basis, all I really want to do is hack up animals," she says. "It's time for me to go after my dream and passion, and this is truly what it is. I think Cleveland will support it 110 percent."
"Phase two," adds the chef, will be a storefront and butcher shop somewhere in Cleveland.