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Taylor & Toponia
Meet Taylor & Toponia

Taylor Boetticher and Toponia Miller are the husband-and-wife team behind the Fatted Calf Charcuterie, which opened in 2003 and now has locations in Napa and San Francisco. The couple met at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, then worked for a stint as apprentices to legendary butcher Dario Cecchini (made famous by Bill Buford in his memoir Heat) in Tuscany before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. They have been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine and Saveur, where the Fatted Calf was included in the editors' annual list of their favorite foods and trends. Visit fattedcalf.com.

Buy the Book - In the Charcuterie
Q&A with Taylor & Toponia

Q: How did you become interested in charcuterie?

Taylor: I started working at Café Rouge in Berkeley in the summer of 1999. I wanted to work at a small place that was focusing on really good ingredients and changing their menu up frequently. I thought that I was going to be applying for a line cook or a sous chef position, but the chef actually needed someone to work in the charcuterie that's attached to the restaurant. That was where I started to see that charcuterie was a really important part of the culinary world, and that not many people were doing it. After being there for about four and a half years, my wife Toponia and I began to talk about starting a business.

Q: And you trained in Italy?

Taylor: I met Dario Cecchini about a week after my wife Toponia and I got married in 2001, at the Chez Panisse 30th anniversary party. We made arrangements to visit his store, Antica Macelleria Cecchini in or Panzan, in Chianti, and ended up working there for about few months. He's larger than life, a very talented, very sweet man.

Q: Have you always been interested in charcuterie and butchery? If not, what drew you to it?

Toponia: I was not always interested in butchery and charcuterie. I was actually a vegetarian for about 10 years, up until the time I enrolled in the C.I.A., where I was first introduced to the craft through a seven-day charcuterie course. I was fascinated to learn that you could make your own ham and sausage. And while I didn't immediately run out and join a bacon-of-the-month club, the seed was planted. Later, Taylor wound up working at a charcuterie and then we traveled to Italy where we both worked for a butcher in Chianti. Working and living in Italy pretty much sealed the deal.

Q: Who are some of your culinary influences?

Toponia: It sounds cliché, but Julia Child opened my eyes to a world of unknown foods at a very young age through the magic of television. I am also a voracious reader of cookbooks and have certainly been influenced by Georgeanne Brennan, Paula Wolfert, Anne Bianchi, Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford, and countless others.

Read more on the blog >

Chopped Chicken Liver Crostini Duck Liver Mousse with Armagnac Cream Croque Monsieur Chermoula-Marinated Pork Chops Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Build the Perfect Charcuterie Platter How It's Done: The Cuban
Top Kitchen Items

Forschner by Victorinox Curved Boning Knife >
Forschner makes good, reliably sturdy boning knives that hold their edge very well and are easy to keep clean. A classic.

Fleur de Sel French Sea Salt >
French sea salt has a larger grain that is excellent for sprinkling over skin-on pork roasts as well as adding texture to composed salads.

Wüsthof Classic Curved Meat Fork >
This meat fork is incredibly versatile and sturdy. We use this for everything from gently turning quails on the grill to taking whole corned beef briskets out of the pot.

Sabatier Black Handled Slicing Knife >
I've always had a soft spot for Sabatier knives. They're incredibly well made, have great balance and are classically beautiful.

Vintage Galvanized Biergarten Table >
Perfect for enjoying beer and ribs in the sun with friends.

Le Creuset Cast Iron Pâté Terrine >
Le Creuset terrines are the industry standard for so many reasons. We use them for our baked terrines as well as to set up chilled terrines like Duck Liver Mousse and Jambon Persillé. They're beautiful enough to use at the table and so sturdy that we've been using the same Le Creuset terrines for production for 9 years. None has broken.

Waring Die-Cast Meat Grinder >
For doing more than one or 2 pounds of ground beef for the Ugly Burger or pork for sausage, a dedicated meat grinder more than earns its keep in terms of speed and efficiency. The metal parts allow you to chill everything well before grinding, enabling you to keep the meat cold while grinding, which enhances the texture of the meat.

All-Clad Stainless-Steel Flared Roasters >
We use All-Clad at home and in both stores. The fitted rack in this roasting pan ensures that the roast won't stick delicious browning by allowing hot air to reach the underside of the roast as well.

Vintage Round Footed Platter >
We love to use sturdy, natural wood boards for charcuterie platters. The dark red color of salami is an especially nice contrast to the dark wood used for this board.

Boos End-Grain Butcher Block Workbench, 60" >
This butcher block is perfect for home butchery projects, from cutting chickens to boning out a whole pork middle for The Cuban.