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Chef Spotlight: Steven Furgiuele

Steven-FurgiueleHaving always worked in a creative industry — from photography to music — creativity is an essential part of the man behind Fuge Fine Meat, Steven Furgiuele’s, process. To create his artisan cured salumi and unique sausages, he draws inspiration from the people in his life. “My wife is Brazilian, so I’ve been to Brazil a few times and I love their use of cilantro, coriander, coconut — all that kind of stuff,” Furgiuele says. “So I have a Brazilian salami I’m developing right now.”

Most of his offerings are available at the new OTTO Food & Drink, and its signature OTTO Dog was inspired by the owner, Ed Donszelmann. “I asked him about his cultural background, where his family was from, and I researched the towns to find spices and things that they used in those regions,” Furgiuele explains. “And I created the OTTO dog: smoked Sylvan Star Gouda bratwurst with a lot of caraway.”

Furgiuele made the jump from music to cooking after being inspired while watching Hell’s Kitchen. “I really appreciated Gordon Ramsay’s standards, his uncompromising nature when he was doing his show, and his extreme attention to detail.” Those characteristics transfer into his food at Fuge, but they’ve been ingrained in Furgiuele since he was a kid. “My dad is one of the hardest-working dudes I’ve ever known in my life, an unbelievably hard-working immigrant guy,” he says. “He would work straight 12-hour days, and then go home to this massive garden, which was half the size of our backyard, and maintain it.” His father would also pickle vegetables, make tomato sauce, and — of course — cure salami, which the young Furgiuele helped with. When he started curing his own meats while at Culina, he says, “I realized I’d done this thing my entire life: I was going back to my roots.”

When not enjoying his own food, Furgiuele’s a fan of the ramen at Nudoru. He also admires the work done at Chartier. “The bread is phenomenal!” he raves. “And their smoked meat sandwich — I wish I lived next door.”

– Matthew Stepanic

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