There is perhaps no stronger international relationship than the diplomatic bond between the United States and Canada, but beneath all that warm-and-fuzzy chumminess lies a rivalry spanning generations. Yanks are fond of clowning our neighbors to the north for everything from their unflappable manners and melodramatic high schools to the scientifically proven fact that they’re all scared of the dark. Many Canucks, meanwhile, consider us to be arrogant dummies with wack healthcare, a penchant for passing the buck (passing the loonie?) and nothing but boorish disdain for anyone residing outside our 50 awesome states. (OK so maybe Canada’s not alone in all that.) With such close borders, it has to be this way. We’ll always be allies — but we’ll always have a bit of a score to settle. The eighth installment of COOK’s Open Stove competition series addressed this age-old struggle for cultural supremacy in the most dangerous death arena of them all: the kitchen.
Representing the stars ‘n’ bars: Scott Schroeder, the Detroit-born COOK regular who runs the kitchens at South Philly Tap Room and American Sardine Bar. His maple leaf-loving competition: Nick Macri, a Toronto native who serves as chef de cuisine and charcutier of Southwark. These two are good buddies, but the only thing they had in common on this combative night was their drinking. But COOK even scratched a line in the sand with that activity: The only available bottles were Budweiser and Molson, both sucked down with marathon gusto by the chefs, their assistants and the hungry crowd. Who would walk out of COOK with a rightful claim as King in the North (America)?
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Beards are optional if you want to get into charcuterie.
Nick Macri of Southwark (left) & Mark Regan of South Philadelphia Tap Room (right)
Nick Macri is the Sous Chef and Charcutier of Southwark located in the Queens Village neighborhood of Philadelphia. This Canadian from Toronto found his way to Philadelphia on a soccer scholarship to Drexel University. He has since built a reputation as one of Philadelphia’s top meat men. He is the “People’s Champ” when it comes to Bologna, winning the Cochon555 HeritageBBQ Bologna Contest: https://twitter.com/COCHON555/status/241764084574453760.
On Tuesday, October 9th 2012, Nick Macri promised the guests of his Charcuterie Basics COOK class “even if you don’t learn anything, I promise you will not leave hungry.” Luckily for him, the class was filled with eager DIY at home charcuterie beginners who came prepared with questions. The class included hands-on demos of the techniques behind making terrines and sausages, as well as curing and brining methods.
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Two weeks back, six Philly chefs made their way up to NYC’s James Beard House to cook the very first collaborative Pig Dinner off their home turf. Chef David Katz, who launched this porky tradition at his restaurant Mémé in 2009, invited John Taus (The Corner), Terence Feury (Fork, until next month), Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), Michael Solomonov (Zahav) and Jennifer Carroll (Carroll Couture Cuisine) up with him to crank out the multi-course meal, the only stipulation being that every plate had to include a porcine element in some way. Those who couldn’t make the trip up for the occasion should start thanking their lardo-coated stars — on Monday, July 30, Katz is getting the crew back together for a second run, at his spot right here in Philly.
In contrast to previous events, which featured a pair of seatings, 2012′s Pig Dinner 2.0 will have only one, and it’ll be capped at 30 people. All the chefs from the New York field trip are returning, and this go-’round will feature some choice additions to the crew, too. Starting at 7 p.m., Nick Macri, Southwark sous chef and charcuterie assassin, will be slicing his handmade salumi (hearing rumors about an Old Bay salami) along with a whole roast suckling pig and hors d’oeuvres via Katz and his kitchen. And mercenary pastry chef Monica Glass, a past Pig Dinner participant, is joining the fun this year on the sweet side of things. Michael Madrigale, the Philly-boy sommelier of NYC’s Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, will handle choice wine pairings for the six-course meal, which kicks off at 7:45.
Mémé will begin taking reservations by phone (215-735-4900) this coming Wednesday, June 27. The price is $200 a head. Cancellations must be made no later than 48 hours before the event; guests will be charged $100 a person for cancelling anytime after the two-days-before mark.
Photo: David M. Warren, Philadelphia Inquirer
Last Monday at COOK we had a literal sausage fest!
Nick Macri from Southwark was at COOK for a sausage-making basics class and needless to say, there were lots of sausages and lots of sausage jokes being served.
Nick and his sous for the evening, Matt, demonstrated how easy it is to make sausage in your home with just a Kitchen-Aid mixer attachment and a helping squeezing hand from a friend. Sausage-making is a skill Nick picked up from his dad when he was just a kid and they’d make sausage together. Nick’s other meat specialty: charcuterie – and he’ll be back at COOK in December to teach a class on that.
The sausage-ful menu began with a chicken weisswurst (white sausage in German) in a spelt and fall vegetable soup – a perfect for a rainy day. Next up, we had a red wine and garlic sausage with braised greens and polenta followed by baked beans and Andouille sausage with corn bread, finishing the meal with a hop (like in beer) sausage with a smoked cheddar fondue and apples because you just can’t skip dessert!
Ann Karlen, Founding Director of Fair Food, was also in attendance and explained the importance of eating locally and sustainably. Nick had purchased all his ingredients for the class from the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market where Nick’s charcuterie can be also purchased.
Stay tuned for details of Nick’s next class in December coming soon!