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Eating the Benedict Option

The road to peace for a troubled superstar chef (Hutch Photography/Shutterstock)

Now, this is just wild. From NPR:

There’s a new deli in rural Maine with a hotshot chef behind the counter. Foodies may know Matthew Secich’s name from stints and stars earned at Charlie Trotter’s, The Oval Room in Washington, D.C., and The Alpenhof Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Recently, Secich joined an Amish community and moved his family and his kitchen off the grid.

His new spot, Charcuterie, is a converted cabin tucked away in a pine forest in Unity, Maine, population 2,000. You have to drive down a long, snowy track to get there, and you can smell the smokehouse before you can see it.

If you’ve followed your nose this far, inside, you’ll see ropes of andouille, kielbasa and sweet beef bologna hanging from hooks above the counter. There are no Slim Jims here, but rather handmade meat sticks, fat as cigars, sitting in a jar by a hand-cranked register.

More, about how life in the culinary spotlight failed to satisfy:

Something was missing, and Secich says he didn’t find what he was looking for until he adopted a traditionalist Christian faith and started to homestead. Happiness now, he says, is living off the grid, Amish.

Everyone in his family has had to adapt. His kids now take a pony to school instead of the bus. His wife, Crystal, stays home to care for the family.

Read the whole thing. Here’s more about his journey from the Portland (ME) Press-Herald:

His perfectionist streak ruled his actions. “I burned people,” he said. As in, held a line cook’s hand to a hot fire for making a mistake at Charlie Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago, where Secich was a sous chef from 2006 to 2008. “Four stars, that’s all that matters.”

Then he grew disgusted.

“I went home one night and got on my knees and asked for forgiveness,” he said. For his lack of compassion for others, his nights with restaurant friends and a fifth of Jim Beam with a side of Pabst Blue Ribbon, for that overactive ego. “I gave my life to the Lord, which I never would have imagined in the heyday of my chaos.”

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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