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Classic and not-so-classic French charcuterie

Bar Boulud

Tristan Crepin, the new charcuterie chef at Bar Boulud, intends to up the ante and show that even in charcuterie, flavor isn't always about fat. "We are doing a lot of pates, which don't have fat on it, some of it has all of the protein, all of the meat, but without the fat," says the 28-year-old Parisian, who also worked at Bar Boulud in New York and London. And sometimes, he eschews meat in general, playing with vegetarian terrines and fish preparations, though he likes to serve those primarily in summer. "We are trying to do the charcuterie for everyone. Me, I am trying to touch all of the population, they can try it and see if they like it," says the chef.

At the moment, Crepin is focused on indulgent holiday treats, making a pheasant en croute with cranberries and incorporating butternut squash into sausages and duck terrines with Thanksgiving-in-New-England flavors. For Christmas he'll be sticking with a full-fat foie gras terrine with poached pears, chestnuts, and brioche, and an extravagant version of the white pork sausage, boudin blanc, which contains more foie gras and apples.

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For all of his experimenting, he hasn't strayed far from the tutelage of his mentors, including the famous French charcutier Gilles Verot. "Of course," he says, "I'm going to have the regular pate, you know, the classic French pate."

Crepin, who arrived here six months ago, has been in a bit of a whirlwind. He hasn't had a lot of free time to eat in town but says, "I haven't seen that much charcuterie, which I am happy about, I'm not going to complain about that." With a tasting menu at Bar Boulud, and a 7-seat charcuterie counter, he's confident he can delight diners with his classical training and youthful curiosity. "I'm going to try and bring it to the top." Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental Hotel,
776 Boylston St., Boston, 617-535-8800,
barboulud.com/boston

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CATHERINE SMART