Chicago resident Dawid Bury runs a one-man show in his rental kitchen space to create artisan cheese boards. Without a storefront or a single employee, Bury has become Chicago’s very own Mr. Charcuterie. He handles everything from social media to contacting wholesalers. He has the vision, taste, and charisma to carry his small business.

Betsy Winick

Bury spent the 2020 quarantine stuck at home, staring at his computer. During his time spent as an IT consultant, he felt a need for a creative outlet. As his friends’ go-to foodie, Bury always knew he had an eye for aesthetics and the taste buds for quality.

But where could he start? The best way to break into the industry, Bury realized, was to fill a gap in the Chicago food market that people didn’t even know existed. When he found charcuterie, he realized, “this is my outlet to be me.”

With the sudden emergence of Tik Tok and increasing reliance on influencers during covid’s slowest times, Bury knew he would draw his biggest consumer base from social media. He created his Instagram in February 2021 and original orders were placed through Direct Message.

After quickly growing his following, Bury started working with online Chicago foodies who personally messaged him to try out his products. Their unsponsored and genuine reviews helped Mr. Charcuterie recognize the power of using his creativity and passion. He created Chicago’s demand for authentic, personable cheese boards.

Cleo Kanter

Charcuterie generally refers to a French platter of mixed meats and cheeses. According to Mr. Charcuterie, however, “it’s just meat and cheese on a board.” However, with his creative spirit guiding his “cheese journey,” Bury’s boards exceed the expectations of any simple combination of meat and cheese. He values the simplicity of the foods and allows his personal tastes and desires to curate his vision, making him the cheeseboard influencer that inspires homemade charcuterie makers themselves. Bury said, “we eat with our eyes first,” and knows how to catch the eyes of Chicago’s hunger.

What mainly differentiates Mr. Charcuterie from competitors is his devotion to sourcing local midwestern products. With Wisconsin cheese just up north, Bury refuses to use the same trendy products from markets like Trader Joe’s. He said that using jams, honeys and meats made in Chicago brings an elevated quality level to his boards.

Locally sourcing adds more than just flavor to Bury’s boards. He chooses each product with intention, prioritizing his support of small businesses over well-known items, since “we really need to support one another.”

Mr. Charcuterie’s open-mind to open-mouth mindset has led him to test-taste and mix together a plethora of flavors, creating the ultimate charcuterie combinations. The flexibility and variety of options on his boards offers a unique play on the traditional French cuisine.

Just as charcuterie has been a personal experience for him, Bury aims to make charcuterie a personal experience for everyone. His menu offers both pre-made and personalized boards because, as he said, “it’s your taste palette, your journey.” He encourages customers to try something new and experiment with any number of ingredients: “no one can tell you no.” To Mr. Charcuterie, there’s never a plate too full.

Betsy Winick

Despite his early success, it hasn’t all been smooth as brie for Mr. Charcuterie. Business needs are endless, especially for Bury’s, where he acts as manager and employee all in one. While holiday demands bring in the business, Bury fills to capacity way before all customer needs are met and has to decline orders.

In the online food community, Mr. Charcuterie also faces “haters” who tell him his boards aren’t good enough and that he’s too small to join other longtime Chicago creators in the market. Rather than succumbing to their pressure, Bury only feels motivated by their hate. As he said, “you know you’ve made it when people start talking about you.”

In light of Mr. Charcuterie’s recent emergence in the Chicago food scene, customers are craving a new level of cheese boards that hasn’t been seen in their city before. Unlike many other dishes, charcuterie brings both casualty and elegance to a plate. As Bury calls them “adult Lunchables,” his cheese boards incorporate time’s old cheese and meat snack into a modern delicacy.

With his business picking up, Bury is planning for expansion. Just as Chicago was unaware of the dire demand for luxurious cheese boards, Bury said that boards for desserts, bagels, fruits – you name it – are in the works to pleasantly surprise his customers. He also hopes to open a storefront in Chicago one day. Until then, he continues to accept orders on Instagram DM and his website.

Betsy Winick

(Photos courtesy of Dawid Bury)