A decade ago, you would have found Matthew Secich in the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant, shouting obscenities at underlings as he hustled to prepare that night’s service. Then, he left the high-stress world behind, converted to the Amish faith, and, along with his family, opened a small charcuterie shop in Unity, Maine.
Today, you’ll find Secich at the end of a long road in the middle of a pine woods, beard down to his chest, hand-grinding meat to make sausages. Secich came up amid the frenetic rush of high-end kitchens such as Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, but at Charcuterie, time is all he has. In line with his faith, Secich’s small shop is lit by oil lamps and heated by a wood stove. His meat is kept cool in a pine room stocked with 80 tons of ice that’s hand-cut each winter after being harvested from a local lake. The low-tech kitchen produces high-quality meats, from andouille and kielbasa sausage to cured meat sticks, the artisan answer to gas-station jerky.
For Secich, cooking was always a way to participate in the community. “Man can’t be selfish with food,” he told Down East, a Maine publication. “When you have an opportunity to sit down and share a meal with someone, in many ways, you’re sharing your heart.” Removed from the pressures of fast-paced restaurant life, Secich’s heart—and his charcuterie-making—has only grown more generous.
Know Before You Go
Charcuterie is open only Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, along Leelyn Rd. in Unity. If you're lost and hungry, ask anyone in town: There are only a couple thousand residents, and just one popular Amish charcuterie shop.